Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Science vs art

I'm feeling a bit brighter today. With Elizabeth Hurley at home nursing her hand, we're driving the kids to the Space Centre in Leicester. Here we've a workshop booked with Am and Jol and lots of other home educators. Dig's coming because he hopes we'll do some proper science. So, en famille again, things are looking decidedly up.

And indeed everything goes very well. The Grit and Dig family arrive late and get bundled into the Planets show at the theatre, which we reckon is much better than the Night and Day show. Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are all enthused by the displays and Grit is happy because there's a panel on astronomy through history.

Then comes the workshop. Here we're going to make rockets. Actually, the kids are making them from paper rolls and film canisters while I get in some tip-top quality chat time with Jol. Dig is sitting at the back grumbling about the quality of the science and saying it is more like an art and craft lesson. I agree, but it is not worth interrupting tip-top quality time for that, so largely ignore him. Off he goes to try and introduce some scientific concepts round the girly table as they are all doing their colouring in.

Squirrel is colouring her rocket with pinks and greens and will not explode it with a jet of gas from a fizzy tablet because she does not want to spoil the pattern. Dig gets peeved and starts telling everyone there's a scientific principle operating here and whoever saw a pink rocket with roses on it anyway.

I must say Dig's putting in some work. He promises that the picture of the unicorn will remain intact after explosion thanks to the gravitational pull of the earth, so Tiger gives in, as does Shark, who reluctantly watches in a mixture of dismay and delight as her rocket, sporting a picture of a dolphin, soars into the air and then lands to ground with just the faintest of buckled noses. Squirrel's not persuaded. She refuses to join in point blank. Her rocket now has a rainbow on it. She's sellotaped the lid on as additional security from Dig, so there's nowhere to put the fizzy tablet fuel.

Am, encouraged by all this activity, and who has been making a delightful patterned rocket with the rest of the girly troupe around the art and craft table, joins the queue to explode her rocket.

And my goodness, it does explode. It goes up into the air, higher, faster and more amazingly than anyone else's. And it doesn't come down. It gets stuck in the overhead light at the highest point of the ceiling.

Am is distraught. Well, actually, Am is beside herself with the loss of a very fine coloured rocket. And everyone tries to comfort her. Including Dig, who cheerily says, 'Very successful!' And Am screams.

Am's scream is hugely impressive. It is very Queen of the Night and possibly pitch perfect. It is better than Tiger's, who can manage a proper scream or two, and it is certainly better than Squirrel, who has not been on best screaming form lately. Indeed, Am's scream is so lengthy and amazing that it comes very close to the scream that Shark did while rolling in the gutter on the day of the bike ride. Am's scream is highly impressive, and I'd give it a 9.5 with extra stars for an honourable mention.

And Dig, you just have to remember that ladies of delicate dispositions, when they have just lost their pink rockets, are not at that moment interested in an explanation of Newton's first law of motion.

1 comment:

dragon boy said...

its not just girls, my 10 year old son cried when his rocket got wet and therefore ruined......we are now left with a lovely white plastic 'rocket',....apparantly that just isnt the same! I'm thinking somehow the point of the 'exercise' was missed.