Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Day 72: Wrap It Up

When you woke up this morning, you were wishing that you could watch a rap video that incorporates vocabulary pertaining to the inner solar system.

Since it's almost Christmas, here you are!

I have a ton of work to do over break, not the least of which is getting my head on straight.  I always have difficulty around the holiday season and I'm not sure why.  I know this is a fairly common issue for people, but I can only worry about me.

I've prepared my assignments and resources for the next chapter, sent them to the printer and uploaded them to my class site.  For all intents and purposes, I'm ready to be back in January.

Mentally, I'm exhausted.  The past few weeks have seen huge swings in mood and confidence both in my abilities as a teacher and as a father/husband.

Rather than trying to recap everything, I'm going to link to the post I wrote last year, which still applies.

I wish all of you a pleasant holiday season, complete with all of the love and comfort that you want.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Day 71: Create An Alien

I did work today!!

"You guys have assignments to work on and discussions to complete.  We will be in the library tomorrow if you need to type or research anything.  Go to it!"

Then I sat down and worked on the Powerpoint and guided notes for the next section.  I updated the assignment list, updated grades and looked through many of the assignments that have been turned in so far.

I had/have high hopes for the "create an alien" project that some of the students elected to take on.  A few came in that were a bit lackluster, but one young woman in particular submitted one that was pretty fantastic and I started using it as an example of what I wanted.

One of the chemistry teachers was out, so some of the other science teachers and I decided to troll his classes with fake Star Wars spoilers.

"I truly loved the way that Abrams managed to work in the 'Han Solo was a droid' plotline so smoothly!"
"Me too! I was worried how they would tie it in with Ren being the genetic clone of Anakin Skywalker, since Han was Kylo Ren's son, but it was done very well!"

Only about half of my student were in school today, except for Physics where they were all present.  I expect tomorrow's attendance will be even more sparse.  The Astronomy classes will be in the library to work on their contracts and I will count the tiles on the ceiling.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Day 70: Force the Joy

If you think my title is a Star Wars reference, you're looking for puns in Alderaan places.

I started today not feeling all that great.  This was a tiring week, with my emotions swinging back and forth.  On Tuesday, I was still recovering from illness, Wednesday, I was feeling great.  Yesterday started off well and then my confidence was shattered.

Honestly, I was dreading today.

Then I remembered that it was #HighFiveFriday.

Last week, I talked about school culture and the little thing that can be done to change it for the better.  What I didn't realize was how that also works on the micro scale.  Withing 5 minutes of students entering the building, I was standing in the hallway with my hand up.

It's impossible to remain glum when you are giving and receiving hundreds of high fives.

It was also evident that the culture is already changing.  Several students walked by and said "High five Friday" as they gave me one.

During my prep period, I had some errands to run and, in walking through the school, came across several group of students, only some of whom I knew, all of whom received high fives.

One of the students commented that my high five made his day.

How could you ask for anything more than that?

I told him to feel free to continue it on his own and he didn't have to wait for me.

Culture change is free and can be so simple.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Day 69: Perpetual Fear

Once again, I'm having tremendous difficulty with a balance of responsibility.

I feel very good about the resources and supports that I provide for my students until someone questions it.  The first complaint seems to shatter the thin veneer of "I'm a teacher and I know what I'm doing."

I can't seem to put my finger on why this is.  I have several theories, including lack of confidence in the supports that I have in place, lack of confidence in my own abilities as an educator and an assessor.

I DO believe in what I am doing, but I question whether or not I'm doing it right, or at the least the way I want to do it.  I know that I have tons of room for growth and, intellectually, I recognize that it will take me a lifetime to get where I want to be.

Emotionally however, I see the students in front of me and I deeply fear that I am failing them.

I also recognize that with so many students over so many years, I am bound to get complaints and push-back.  Parents only ever want the best for their children and I never begrudge them that desire.  The issue for me, and I suspect the system in general is that we don't have a deep enough conversation about what that is, or what it should look like.

On top of this, we only casually acknowledge that it may look different for every student.  With 130 students, it's impossible to meet the individual needs of each one.  We do our best, usually, but we often fall short.  Some students fall through the cracks and it's devastating when that happens.

There are some students where I feel no responsibility.  I have provided them with multiple resources and allowed work to be turned in later.  When the students put no effort into their own education, I can talk to them, but I can't do the work for them.

There are several students, however, who are putting in incredible amount of effort and simply not performing where they would prefer.  This doesn't mean failing.  It means less than 100%.  I feel as though I am providing appropriate resources and support but not everyone agrees and that erodes my confidence.

I asked some other teacher about it and they all put on a solid and confident face, whether or not it's real.  "I've done what I can to help this child."

I put this face on as well and I believe it until I'm confronted.  I don't know how to balance the compassion that I feel for these students and my believe that mistakes are necessary for growth.

On the surface, I know which complaints and push-back are irrational and which have a solid basis, but emotionally, I can't square it.

As a result, I'm trying to take a step back, examine what I've done and what I haven't.  I'm speaking to students whose judgement I trust and asking them how I can improve.  Part of this means recognizing that whether my students are appropriately placed in my class or not, I still have a responsibility to help them.

Today's step was about organization.  Two-dimensional physics problems with Newton's Laws are very complicated. Color-coding can help...

Why are you not doing everything you possibly can for my child?

I think that in many cases, I am.  No matter what, someone is bound to disagree.

I hope that I remember this when my own children start having difficulty in school.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Day 68: Work!

As we approach winter break, I'm slowing down what I cover in class.  This is partially because I'm near the end of the current chapter and rather than starting a new one, I'd rather give the students time in class to work on their various projects.

This seems to be paying off.

When they came in today, I give the astronomy kids a list of due dates for the remainder of the assignments and time in class to work on what they needed to accomplish.  Most of the students used this time wisely and I was suitably impressed.

One pair of young women wrote a rap song about the vocabulary words.  As soon as they finish recording it, I'll be posting it here.  It's pretty awesome.

The other assignment that has me VERY excited is "Using specific planetary information, describe in detail what life on that planet would look like and why?"  For example: Mars has about of a third of the gravity of Earth, so the creatures there would likely be taller with less dense bone structure.  Since It's an arid planet, they would probably also be covered in scales.

The discussions that I've had with students about this one gives me hope for the outcomes.  I pointed them in the direction Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials, a book written in 1979 where the author did anthropological studies of aliens from science fiction books.

In the book, he has drawings, many of them anatomical of the aliens as well as description of their habitats, physical characteristics, culture, etc.

I truly love this project because it allows students to be creative while still grounding their work in reality, which the difference between science fiction and fantasy.

As is expected, some of the students are doing bare minimum, or less than that, but several are getting seriously into the assignments, using their creativity to demonstrate their knowledge.

I don't believe that there will ever be an assignment, or even a group, that will grab the attention of every student, but this collection seems to be coming close.  While making up the menu for the next chapter, I'm learning a considerable amount about wording of the assignments and respective point values.

I do a good amount of reflection on my attitudes and thoughts, but not nearly enough on my assignments.  I like this one and will be working to improve it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Day 67: Tuned Out

I probably should have stayed home again today.  I took yesterday off as I had some sort of allergic reaction and couldn't bend my fingers.  When I came back in today, I discovered that something got screwed up with our district network and I was unable to access any of the videos that I was planning to show.

Instead, the astronomy classes talked about Earth.

It was boring and with my low level of energy from not feeling well, I did an awesome job of making it MORE boring.

I got better as the day went on, but it never really became interesting.  We did talk about the greenhouse tipping point in terms of the polar ice caps and how their melting would send us into a spiral from which we could not recover.

The possible inevitable death of all humanity always seems to grab the attention of teenagers.

Tomorrow, progress reports are due.  This means that, even though we have an online gradebook, students are suddenly realizing that not having done any work means they are failing.  Simple lack of participation in weekly discussions means that almost 80% of my astronomy students have F's.  From the differentiated assignments, the student who have done it have demonstrated good work, but almost half of my students simply haven't done the assignments.

As I've said before, historically, the students who take astronomy do so either because they genuinely care about astronomy, or because they have failed other science classes and need the science credit to graduate.  It's not a hard course, but it's not possible to pass if you refuse to do work.

I hate blaming the kid, but there comes a time when that's inevitable.  If, after repeated reminders, allowing late work to be turned in and constant ability to access grade information, a student still doesn't turn in assignments, it's very hard for me to see how I could be doing something differently.

I've been having this conversation with one of my colleagues recently.  He developed a multi-modal lab from his chemistry students that involved spectroscopes and light diffraction.  He even told them that if they did well, they would do a lab after where they set things on fire to determine chemical composition.

More than half of his students opted to take the zero and just not do the lab.  He and I are both have tremendous difficulty figuring out how to combat these attitudes. There are deep seated systemic issues that he and I are unable to tackle on a grand scale.  So we do what we can to combat it on the scale of our classrooms, but we are at a loss.

I try to make my class interesting.  Most days, I succeed.  I cannot hold myself responsible for the choices of my students.

I recognize that school isn't a priority for many of my students and many of their families.  Many of them are preoccupied with keeping food on the table and keeping the lights on.

There are much deeper issues at work in communities of poverty than can't be cured by just asking teachers to "be more engaging."

Friday, December 11, 2015

Day 65: #HighFiveFriday

There are tons of major things that you can do to change the culture of a school.  Professional development is FULL of them:

  • Set up a token economy
  • Feature a "Student of the Week"
  • Feature a "Teacher of the Week"
  • Cover your walls in student work
  • Mandate a single lesson format for all lessons
  • Have regular assemblies or pep rallies

There are also tons of little things you can do.

Most of my students don't want to be at school.  When I see kids walking down the hallway, so many of them look angry, sad, tired or just spaced out.  This wasn't a great week for me either and I was very glad that today was Friday, but when I came in this morning, I had an interaction with one of my coworkers.

She told me that my students have told her that they really enjoy my class and that they are learning a ton.  I'm not writing this because I want my readers to agree or disagree with it or with my view of my own abilities.  I'm writing it because it reminded me that our perceptions of ourselves are skewed.

I'm not the greatest teacher in the world,m but I am by no means the worst.

I want my students to enjoy my class AND I want them to learn.  If they are doing both, how could I be upset.

Even if they aren't, school still should be a place where they don't hate to be.

To that end, I'm trying to do little things to change the culture, such as #HighFiveFriday.

I stood in the hallway between classes actively giving out high fives to every student who passed me.  If they refused, I followed them down the hallway with an expectant smile, gesturing to my own hand telling them not to leave me hanging.

Students who came passed me multiple times over the day asked what was up.


I already gave you one.


Halfway through the day, the teacher across the hall made the observation that every single kid left with a smile.  Even the ones who refused to high five had the "HAH! I got away with something" smirk.

At the end of 6th period, I was at my spot in the hall, handing out high velocity, high altitude palm presses when a student I hadn't seen before asked me what I was doing.  Before I could answer, one of my 1st period students who was at her locker replied with "It's high five Friday, duh."

No one is too cool for a high five.

I dare you to resist the urge to high five your computer screen.

C'mon! Do it!!  HIGH FIVE FRIDAY!

What small things do/can you do to improve culture of your school?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Day 64: Taking a Breath

Yesterday wasn't a great day for me.  That happens sometimes so I'm using it to learn and move forward.

The student whom I spoke to at the end of the day yesterday came up for extra help during his lunch today.  I consider that a good sign.  I'm glad he hasn't committed to dropping the course.

The Astronomy students started turning in their differentiated assignments.  The majority of them decided to do the hand-written definitions while one created a crossword puzzle.  Two students made vocabulary posters that I will put up on the windows.

Students who have yet to do ANY work for my class are willing to do this.  If I had assigned them to write the definitions, I think they would have skipped it, but allowing them to choose this seems to make all the difference.

I also had the honor today of reading a book to kindergarten students in Minnesota.  This is my second time doing so and this group was adorable.  They had all sorts of questions about Pennsylvania, specifically whether we have earthquakes.

Little kids are cute. I'm going to go home and cuddle with mine.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Day 63: Guilt and Belief

Well, that didn't work out for most of my students.

Or maybe it did, depending on the perspective.

One of the physic students earned an A and almost all of the rest failed.  We had a nice long conversation and went over all of the problems.  I congratulated them on having such an awesome learning opportunity.

I pointed to specific times in class when I was covering a topic and people were playing on their phones.  We talked about priorities and choices.

I didn't yell and I didn't shame them.  I am in no position to judge anyone who gets distracted by technology or shiny objects.

They took excellent notes and asked very good questions as we were going over the problems.  I hope that this was a wake-up call to the student who think they can skate by without paying attention and I think it might be.

At the end, I reminded them that I care about their learning and, as long as they can demonstrate that they know the material, I'll happily change the grades.  I gave an alternate assignment for them to do if they wished.

"When's it due?"
"Whenever you finish it."

They worked very hard for the remainder of the period.  I hope I can keep this momentum up.

And then I kept replaying the near-tears of one of my students.  I couldn't get them out of my head and I began to feel guilt and doubt.

This didn't come from her reaction, but my reaction to her reaction.  I immediately began to ask myself if the test had been fair.  Had I taught all of the material?  Had I taught it correctly?  Had I done enough to make sure they understood?  She is a hard worker and I automatically think that if she didn't do well on the test, that the failing was mine.

At the same time, there were several students who did MUCH worse and invoked no such remorse from me.  It was easy for me to look at their scores and say "they weren't paying attention. I covered this material and they talked over me."

I'm deeply bothered by how I am able to hold both of these thoughts in my head at the same time.  I recognize that they aren't mutually exclusive, but it makes me wonder why I feel doubt and guilt for the low scores of one student, but not another.

Clearly, there are students who are the makers of their own demise.  They make choices that aren't beneficial to their grades and I don't hold that against them.

When I first started teaching, I hated giving out bad grades because I didn't want the kids to hate me.

Now I worry that I haven't properly taught the material.

One of the students went to the guidance department to get his schedule changed.  He sat in my room under a palpable cloud of despair before he left.

I caught up with him later and urged him not to drop the course.  I told him that I believed in him and his ability to learn the material.

He said he didn't.

I told him that I would do whatever I needed to do to help him be successful.  This class is a stretch for him.  I worry, however, that if he drops it, he'll see his quitting as a character flaw.  I truly believe that he will get more from struggling in my class than from coasting through an easier one.

So why didn't I object when two other students dropped my course earlier?

Why don't I offer the same advice to the rest of my students?

I don't offer it because I don't believe it.

But why not?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Day 62: More Testing

We had a 3 hour delay today so that 75 kids could retake their standardized tests.  Since I wasn't proctoring, I got a ton of work done.

My 6th period Astronomy class is the only one I have when we do testing so I thought it would be nice to have them watch the episode of Cosmos that deals with Venus, the next planet we'll be examining.

Then my projector crapped out.

Instead, we had random discussions.  I expect tomorrow will be similar.

Not my best day as a teacher, but certainly not my worst.

The physics class received a quiz with all of the answers on it.  It took them several questions to realize what was going on.  When one student began looking comically confused, my statement to him was "maybe that's not what I'm testing."

I've been telling them for a while that I care more about the process than the result, so I was hoping that by giving them the answers, they would know where they were supposed to end and could focus more on the journey.

We will see what happens when I grade them.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Day 61: Mercurial

After our introductions to the new assignment structure, we started our section on the inner planets in earnest today, starting with Mercury.
This student also wears pink poodle shoes...
"Sorry, Mr. Aion," he said with his actions and body language.  "I won't be paying attention in class today.  I'm going to be putting in my headphones and working on the vocabulary assignment that's due this week."

This is the part where it pays to know your students.  I know there are tons of teachers out there who would tell him to put his phone away and pay attention: homework is for home.

I might be one of them, but not this time and not with this kid.

This student is highly intelligent but lacks the motivation to complete assignment or be a productive member of the classroom.  He doesn't actively destroy, but has trouble seeing why he should do anything more than 60%.  "All I have to do is pass."

I've spoken with him several times about how bright he is and the incredible thing he could do if he would apply himself, but it doesn't interest him.  His friends are also quite bright and in similar situations.

I saw a spark of change on Friday when I handed out the assignment menu and he was actively asking questions and making plans.

The first assignment on the menu, a selection of vocabulary assignments, is due on Thursday.  Normally, this young man spend my class either with his head down, or talking to the people around him.  Today, he put in his headphones, pulled out the textbook and starting doing an assignment.

Would I rather he be paying attention to the class and do the work elsewhere? Absolutely!

Am I going to stop him from being productive? Absolutely not!

Rock on, Mr. Fahrenheit!

Productivity looks different for each student.  Part of being a teacher is remembering that and being able to treat students and behaviors as they need.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Day 60: Choice and Buy-In

In a surprising turn of events, it turns out that students are human beings!

Human being get deeply invested in the things that interest them.  If left to their own devices, people work hard for the thing they care about.  This is the whole philosophy behind Passion Projects and Genius Hour.

A major objection that many teachers (including myself) have to the "let them explore and play" philosophy is that we teach specific subjects with specific content requirements.  If given free reign, how many students would choose to study the reproductive cycles of trees or properties of exponential functions?  A few, but not many.

Some might argue that it's a reason why we need to re-examine the purpose of school in general and content specifically.

Since I am just a lowly grunt on the front lines, I don't get to have a loud voice in those policy decisions and I don't get to choose content.

I DO get to choose how I present and assess that content.

Up to this point, I've had minimal buy-in for my assessments, no matter what they were.  The closest I have come was the sun model project.

So I'm taking a page from one of my colleagues.  I am offering a menu of choices for assessment.  Today, I went through the list with them, explaining how it works and answering whatever questions they had.  Students who have been checked out, or actively indifferent, were asking great questions and making plans for which assignments they wanted to work on.

This is going to be a stupid amount of grading for me, and I'm probably going to hate myself, but if it gets the kids interested and even excited, I'll take that hit.

Naturally, I'm concerned about follow-through, but I think if I set deadlines and regularly check in with them, it SHOULD be alright.

I'll end this post with drawings from my students.  Apparently, they believe that Hitler could teach physics to a manatee.

Or perhaps it was the other way around...

I want this one as my ID badge.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


My standardized testing duty assignment today was to hang out with the kids who showed up to school when they weren't supposed to.  I spent the time talking with my colleague about gun control, education and comic books.

I truly enjoy my new department.

I handed out the science activity menu to the 1 astronomy class that I saw today.  We had a discussion about differentiation and they seemed to be fairly excited about the options.  I posted the menu and the vocabulary list (which I made up on the spot) onto the class web page and most of them got started working on the first assignment.

I am also VERY much enjoying the discussions and debates that we are having in physics around inertia and force application.  There are so many aspect that seem counterintuitive and provide great fodder for class discussion.

More than previous topics, this one seems to interesting and engaging, which is appreciated all around.

I'm doing a better job of forcing students to justify there reasoning than I have been.  Instead of saying "good" or "you couldn't be more wrong" I'm asking them to explain, asking other students to restate their points and argue over theory.

I also received a new student and we are being very welcoming, but he seems a bit overwhelmed by the dynamic that we've developed.  I think he will fit in well.

Standing around for 3 hours in exhausting. I'm going home to practice guitar.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Day 58: Keystones & Golf

Standardized testing this morning.  8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grader took a statewide graduation test that will not be used for graduation, apparently.

I actively monitored the CRAP out of that test.  The kids in my testing group were awesome and worked very hard.

Due to the testing schedule, I only saw two of my classes today: one section of Astronomy and Physics.

In Astronomy, I'm taking a page from one of the other teachers and using a menu of options for assessment.  Students will get to pick whatever they want to do as long as they A) pick one assignment from each category and B) have a total assignment value of at least 50 points.
Since I didn't want my one section to get too far ahead of the others, I used class time today to explain the concept to them and we had a discussion about what assignment options they should have.  Giving them a choice will, hopefully, increase buy-in and keep them from getting bored with the same types of assessments.

There some truly clever ideas from the students and several went onto the menu.  I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

The physics class continued our discussion of Newton's First Law.  Yesterday, I gave them a worksheet with some scenarios, but no numbers.  They were to be thinking about inertia and force in a more conceptual way.

Some of the questions sparked some pretty fascinating discussions.  The one in particular that jumped out for us was based on Mini Golf.

A golf ball follows a circular metal rim through a 3/4 turn.  At the end of the rim, will the ball curve away from the turn, shoot straight out from the curve, or continue along the circular path?

We had advocates for each position and a very friendly debate among the students, each arguing their points.  The reasoning for all three was very sound, but we quickly discarded the "keeps moving in a circle" claim.

The students who said that it would curve away from the rim argued that throughout the journey, the ball is exerting a force against the metal.  When the metal stops pushing back, the ball would move outwards.

Thankfully, I have Hotwheels tracks in my room so we set up an experiment, got out a golf ball and tried it!  I was very impressed with their reasoning.  When they asked about whether speed was a factor, we tried it at different speeds.

I want them to be designing their own experiments and this was a great move in that direction.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Day 57: We Are Star Stuff

In the beginning, there was the singularity.

All of the mass in the universe was condensed into a single point, hotter and more dense than we can imagine.  This point couldn't contain that mass and it exploded.

This explosion filled the universe with elementary particles that fuse into elements.  3 minutes into the universe, all of the mass has been fused into either hydrogen or helium.  Mass attracts mass and, over time, hydrogen atoms and helium atoms coalesce into more and more dense clouds.

As the mass increases, so does gravity, pulling the clouds closer and closer together, driving up the density even further until the hydrogen atoms begin to fuse together.  The process of hydrogen fusion produces helium, and energy.  That energy pushes against the gravity that is pulling the particles back in and sets the star into a state of equilibrium.  As long as there is hydrogen to fuse, gravity and expelled energy hold each other at bay.

Much like all reactions, this one eventually runs out of fuel.  Eventually, there is no more hydrogen to fuse.  Without the fusion, there is no energy holding back gravity and the star begins to collapse.  The first generation of stars were so massive that when gravity took over and collapsed the star, the pressure and density was enough to star the process again.  This time, instead of fusing hydrogen into helium, the star is fusing helium into lithium.

When it runs out of helium, it collapses again and begins fusing lithium in beryllium.  With a star massive enough, it will continue to work it's way up the periodic table, fusing lighter elements into heavier ones, releasing energy...

And then it gets to iron, element 26.

Iron is an incredibly stable element.  It is the first element where fusion doesn't give off energy, but requires it.

Without the energy being radiated by the fusion reaction, there is nothing holding gravity at bay.  The outer edges of the star collapse further and further, increasing pressure until the mass can no longer handle it and the star explodes!

While the gravity and pressure aren't enough to fuse iron, the explosion is and in the death throws of this dying star, heavier elements are forged.  These elements, along with the remaining hydrogen, helium, lithium, etc, get flung out into space.

Since mass attracts mass, those far flung particles will be slowly drawn back to each other.  Hydrogen and helium coalesce again into a giant cloud of increasing density, eventually starting the fusion process over.

In the meantime, the far flung particles of nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, etc. also start pulling together.  Single particles become small rocks, small rocks become large rocks.  As they grow in size, gravity begins to take over, squeezing every object larger than 100 km into a spherical shape. large rocks become planetoids which become planets.

On one of those spheres, the conditions are right for some of those carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen atoms to come together and form amino acids.  As time passes, those amino acids combine to become single-cell organisms that swan through the primordial oceans, eating, reproducing and trying not to die.

Eventually, one of those organisms, through  a genetic aberration, develops flagella.  These tiny, finger-like hairs allow the organism to swim faster, obtain more food and escape predators.  The organism thrives and grows, eventually developing eye spots for sensing differences between light and dark.

As the eons pass, that organism climb out of the water, learns to use tools and hunt.  These complex piles of simple atoms discover that working in a small group maximizes results while minimizing risk.

Working together, they begin to specialize, leaving some members back to care to for the young while some go out in search of food.  They eventually realize that they can stay where they are, raise crops and domesticate animals.  The collection of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen atoms create more permanent structures out of collections of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen atoms.

Mass attracts mass, so these permanent communities grow, attracting new members.  Villages grow into towns which grow into cities.  Now they that don't have to constantly worry about food, shelter and harm on a regular basis, these organisms are able to do something they haven't been able to do before.

They look up.

They look up, they notice lights in the sky and begin to wonder.  That wonder sets off a chain reaction because wondering is simply not enough.

These collections of atoms need to KNOW.  They need to know the journey that they took from the heart of a star.

I don't like to lecture, but when I do, I make it a story.
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