Saturday, 13 September 2008

Science and maths. Amazing.

OK, how can we teach science, when everyone knows Grit can bluff her way through art, history, languages and humanities, stuff like that. But not science. Or maths.

I have had an answer to this teaching question which has worked so far. Get Dig to do it. Dig counts as a scientist because he can do sums and has heard of Einstein, so in this house he has been hailed as King of All Science.

But there's a problem. With Dig's increasing absence Grit is faced with taking control of that science education round here. And maths.

Well I confess to being a bit daunted by that. I am at the stage when I can look at a bottle of hair colouring and think that is pretty amazing. And vacuum cleaners? Amazing. That light in the room thing which happens when you press a knobbly switch on the wall? Amazing. Tiger says the light is not brought by fairies nor unicorns who store it in their horns but big things like generators and pylons and wires. Amazing.

In fact Shark, Squirrel and Tiger seem to know a lot of stuff already. That is useful because they tell me things I need to know. Yesterday I swore blind there is an annual sheep wrestling competition where large ladies pin sheep to the ground and rip off all their wool which is stuck on with velcro. This, I was told, is rubbish. I was treated to a five minute lecture on shearing and carding.

But maths? Really, I confess this. I am so crap at maths I have never worked out that area or volume thing which does not make sense to me. Just stop working out what is in the glass, and drink it. Unless it is bleach, or water with food colouring. That is my pragmatic solution.

But of course I fully accept the practical need for science, maths and all things like that. The Gritlets must learn something of these ways of the world, otherwise they will stand in the Co-op in two year's time buying mamma's beer and they will be unable to work out if that old woman on the tills who is deaf and walks with a limp has diddled them again of a pound.

Now I have already started this journey by getting out lots of books and asking Tiger to teach me about electricity. Shark has told me quite a bit about ocean depths and Squirrel who is good at sums taught me about multiplication. Then Shark, Squirrel and Tiger carried out some experiments in the garden which involved chucking puffins about and we called that Newtonian forces. And so we have begun. I have even dedicated two days to this malarky in my new timetable! Wednesdays is maths day, and Fridays is science day! How dedicated is that?

Sure, the other cunning approach is to avoid doing anything at all and go out. Today I drag Dig and the Gritlets to somewhere that might offer science and maths and everything technical all at once, and that is Bletchley Park.

Now the whole world knows about the secret that is Bletchley Park, and they seriously have some wonderful educational stuff there which is fantastic, and makes science and maths a wonderful thing. They even make Alan Turing look a bit sexy and brooding and dashing, like a Johnny Depp of the computer world.

Well the Gritlets do fine here under the capable instruction of Dig who talks about codes and TTY tape. But I am sad to report that within seconds of entering Bletchley Park, Grit's brain closes down and becomes zomboid. I do not know why. Maths and science do this to me. After ten minutes I become a wandering vacant body only brought to life by the sight of a parachute for pigeons. Did you know that? Did you know the British parachuted pigeons about in World War II? Amazing. And as for that machine that goes CLACKCLACKCLACKCLACK BRRR. Amazing.

And I come out of Bletchley Park thinking science and maths and all things technical and technological are wonderful things and I can only use that all-purpose word for them and that is, amazing. I also have some photographs.

And on Grit's progress with the actual science and maths teaching, I'll keep you informed.


sharon said...

That makes two of us who are literally blinded by science and maths and, in my case, much of what goes on in the computer too! Arithmetic and basic algebra were ok but geometry and trigonometry, what can I say... G+T is a drink isn't it?!

Adventure Mother said...

I am completely the opposite to you, I actually love both science and maths! Give me trig or algebra any day over history or any of that boring stuff.

Brad said...

Is that last picture a dunce cap?

Sorry, just me being snarky.

Grit said...

hi sharon, yup, add the computer. shouting doesn't work as a technical solution, either.

adventure mother! i am so shocked that anyone could find richard II boring! let's fight it out in a mud bath and charge to watch. we'll split the profit.

brad, you saw it. well spotted x

Samurai Beetle said...

I'm with you on this Grit, math and science are mind numbing.