Thursday, April 28, 2016

Day 149: The Vortex

Today was Bring Your Child To Work Day.  I didn't.

I was worried that my older daughter would be over-stimulated.

I was worried that my younger daughter would spend the day building an army of teenagers who would carry he on their backs as they march to violently overthrow the patriarchy.

I left them at home.

Many of the other teachers, however, did bring their children and nieces and nephews.  One of the science teachers helped to organize a schedule for the kids to follow so they didn't have to sit in slightly different classes than they do at their own schools.

In the biology class, there were several preserved animals available for inspection.  In chemistry, they did a flame test, burning different substances to watch colors change.  The gifted department set up a robot building station and the students in the musical help a preview performance.

I gave demonstrations with my new and improved (read: stable and balanced) gravity table.  I had objects of different mass and demonstrated how those objects gravitationally interact with each other.

Over the course of giving this demonstration to 6 classes and multiple groups of younger children, a colleague and I developed what will now be known as:

The Stages Of That Penny Thing At The Mall!

Stage 1: A student sees the vortex on the gravity table and exclaims "Bro! That looks like that penny thing at the mall!"

Stage 2: Three minutes later, a second student exclaims "Bro! That looks like that penny thing at the mall!"

Stage 3: Students around student number 2 turn towards him/her and say "Dude! He just said that like 3 minutes ago!  Where were you?"

Stage 4: Every 49 seconds for the remainder of the period, a different student will sarcastically declare "Bro! That looks like the penny thing at the mall!"

These stages repeated in every single class.

Several other teachers sat in on my demonstrations today while accompanying their kids.  I received some pretty positive feedback from the youngin's and the faculty on my "super cool" lesson.

The majority of my students were pretty into it as well, which was nice.  I did notice, however, a particularly large engagement gap between my students and the younger children, with the latter group being MUCH more engaged.

I wonder if this is a function of being a new environment for them or my own students being used to my shenanigans.

Or perhaps there is something inherent in the school process that fosters disengagement over time?

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