Thursday, April 12, 2012

Science Day

Today, like every Thursday, was Science Day for my Libra classes, and let me tell you, they did NOT like today's science!

"Science" is kind of a loose term for what we actually do on Science Day.  It's usually some "experiment" or, really, an educational-ish toy that they can play with for 20 minutes, with which we introduce new vocab words and build on prior knowledge.  It's mostly about having fun and using English in a different way, so that they're not just doing textbook work every day in my class.  Other "sciences" that we've done in the past few weeks have included playing with tangrams, playing with a magic trick kit, making a little feather contraption to mimic the way leaves fall through the air, etc. 

Today's science was called "A Chick is Following Me" -- which makes me think, first of all, what?  Talk about Random English... I should post some of the science titles on Mondays!  The "science" part of today's activity was that you build this little chick that acts like a yo-yo.  You put this little cardboard chick together using a wheel, a string, and a rubber band.  The idea is that when you let it drop and then set it onto the floor, it winds itself back up.  The problem is that it was a little too complicated to put together!  It was almost too complicated for all the teachers to do.  We all sat in the teacher's room for a while figuring out this darn experiment and then getting frustrated cause 4/5 times it didn't work!  Somehow mine worked really well, so I was kinda apprehensively excited about this one. It used actual physics, it wasn't just a toy.  I thought it might actually be fun for the kids. 

Until it actually started.

I showed them my demo and we talked about chicks to build on the prior vocabulary.  Questions like where do chicks come from? An egg!  What does a chick grow up to be?  A chicken!  When a bright kid says "hens lay eggs!" I asked what is a hen?  A girl chicken!  What is a boy chicken called?  A rooster!  Where do chickens live?  On a farm! 

Then I introduce a little of the physics behind the chick, and demonstrate how to put this whole thing together, we write the steps on the board, and I hand out the science kits so the kids, who've been eagerly waiting, can get to work. 

Crash and burn.

Step by step, they put these little chicks together.  And none of them work.  No yo-yoing is happening.  These dumb science chicks are failures.  Who thought up this science?  They should be fired!  Every single kid is saying "Teacher, help me!" "Teacher, help me!" and I'm running around the room, tying strings, making sure that the rubber band is how it's supposed to be, fixing the scotch tape errors, and not a single chick is working.  Some of them were even put together right, but they just. wouldn't. work!  Some of the kids give up on trying to make it do what it's supposed to do and just start dragging them around the room.  I try to put some pep in this science by singing Old MacDonald, with a chorus of chicks cheeping, but it doesn't help much.  One girl hides under her desk and cries.  Another girl sits at her seat crying openly, silent tears running down her face cause her chick won't work.  I keep hearing things like, "Teacher, this is very bad science." "Teacher, this is very very very bad science." "Teacher, this is one hundred times bad science." 

It feels so strange to watch a science experiment cause such a pathetic reaction!  Oh what a Science Day.  Hopefully next week's science is good enough to make up for today.  My poor kiddos!

"Teacher, this is one hundred times bad science."

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