19 September 2010

Teaching science vs the science of teaching

The other half proposes, "No more lame bedtime stories for kid#1. I shall tell her stories about science."

Doesn't sound too bad does it?? Indoctrinating fertile young minds towards science and technology?

So we start with the one of the greatest men of science, Sir Isaac Newton.

OH: Once upon a time there was this dude called Sir Isaac Newton. So Newton sits under this apple tree, and an apple falls on his head. What would we do if that had happened to us?
Kid #1: We would wash the apples first and then eat it.
OH: See, Newton was a scientist.
Kid #1: Like you??
OH: Just like me, but way way smarter. So he started thinking WHY the apple fell DOWN. Do you know why it fell down?
Kid #1: Yes!
OH: Good. Tell me why it fell down.

(At this point of time, the father is thrilled to bits that his 7 year old shows a lot of promise, and a future in science)

Kid #1: See, Appa, the apple hangs BELOW the branch. Because there is a branch above the apple, the apple cannot travel that way, so it has to come down only.. simple!

(Here, as an unbiased observer, I would point out that the kid does know her concepts... about straight lines and all that jazz)

The OH wants to cut this line of thought, and stick with the science of all this.

OH: Baby, if you throw a ball up, does it keep going up?
Kid #1: No, it falls down.
OH: Why does it fall down? Why doesn't it keep going straight up?
Kid #1: Because it doesn't have wings.

There goes that lesson. And we're back to the tried and tested conventional bed time stories.

There are constant attempts to introduce the kids to basic science.

We took them to the Planetarium. There's this little "science park" in the gardens. There they have this colour wheel, painted with the 7 colours of the rainbow, and strips of black and white. The idea here is to touch them and see which colours absorb light, and which colours reflect light. The black strip, needless to say, is hottest to touch, and white is the least hot of the lot.

The OH explains it all in great detail to the little one.

OH: So, Aditi, what will you wear when you go out in the sun.
Kid #1: A hat!

We might be teaching science, but we haven't quite got the science of teaching down pat!

And we're not quite giving up! Tonight the OH plans to tell her the story about James Watt and the steam engine.


Raj Subramani said...

You write very well. Am seeing this for the first time.

I never tried all this. Just stuck to stories and left the kids to investigate. That is why they are what they are, I think! :(

Ramya said...

Aditi has got her fundas right! Knowing to eat and washed apple and wearing a hat on a sunny day will get her going far! Leave Newton to Dad!!

Tys on Ice said...

tell OH never to give up..i wud love to be there when he tries to explain to both of them the concept of I.

Knowing him he will spare them the spiritual fundas..

how u guys doing?

Sumona said...

Just came across your blog. Loved this post! Kids have cool logic and you can't even argue with their logic! You've captured it really well! I look forward to reading more of your posts! :)