The Ever So Slightly Sadistic Pleasures of Teaching – (MYoM – Part 23)

It’s Monday night and I have nothing to do. I NEVER have nothing to do on Mondays – but this week, my list of things to prepare for my lessons tomorrow has only one point:

“Find something red to wear”

It is Natural Sciences Project Week in our school and tomorrow is the big kick off. All 41 kids in the school will assemble and we will investigate the molecular, chemical and physical properties of water by acting them out. (Think of a weird sort of square dance with Mark as the caller.) Some kids will get white paper hats and become hydrogen atoms. They will be needy a looking for a relationship. Others will get blue hats and be oxygen. They will feel somehow incomplete – two electrons shy of the Magic 8. Each O will hook up with two Hs.

And yet somehow the Os will still feel negative. The two Hs will be upbeat and positive and decide this hooking up with O was cool and start looking around for more. Loose connections will be formed and pretty soon they will all be interconnected. Like one drop of water, except that to be one drop, they would really need a few more H20 molecules to join them. Or more precisely, they would need about . . . 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,087 more.

Next we will put them through a series of activities to reveal what happens to water under different conditions. Ann will be Mrs. Freeze and force them into a rigid pattern. I get to be Heatmeister. My job is to shake them out of their positions (melting) and then break them apart and send them flying out of the pan (represented by a circle on the floor). They’ll be steaming then.

wisconsinSo I just went through my closet and the only red thing I own is an ancient sweatshirt from my alma mater. Somehow the word “Wisconsin” doesn’t exactly invoke the idea of heat very well. For this one day – and I can’t believe I am saying this – I wish I had studied in Arizona. On the other hand, I doubt they know enough about the geography of the States to associate Wisconsin with anything – not even the older 13 and 14 year olds. And I doubt they will care much about what I have on, seeing as how they’ll be walking around in little paper hats.

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