What I Learned in School This Week

Originally posted on January 7, 2005.

My science unit is on solids and liquids and the changes they undergo. The other day they dropped Alka Seltzer tabs into little cups of water to watch the “amazing transformation”. No, they didn’t know it was Alka Seltzer, but for second graders there is such a HUGE “wow factor”. Anyway, somebody asked if it was okay to drink the water. Naturally, I explained why you never ever put anything in your mouth during science. Not that I’d give them anything that would hurt them, but that’s an important principle to learn.

Today we were doing the “melting race”. None of this is my idea. The science experiments come in a giant blue box and I do all the lessons as instructed . Anyway, the idea of the melting race is that during the alka seltzer lesson I was supposed to have filled up the supplied blue ice trays with water for the kids to predict what happens when we put them in the freezer. I forgot to do that part and had to get ice from the cafeteria. That ice comes from a bin, which means it’s like those little thin square cubes with the holes in the middle, like the ice you get in a hotel. You’re supposed to put the ice in baggies and students have to try and speed up the melting process with their hands. Sounds simple, right?

Not my kids, oh nooooo…… They figured out almost instantly that the easiest way to make it melt was to smack it around. So, while the teacher next door was giving a math test, I had 23 kids banging the hell out of baggies of ice, the bags are breaking, water is everywhere, and the ice all melted in about 30 seconds. Oh well. You win some you lose some! I don’t know if it makes me a good teacher or a bad one, but it always cracks me up when they do stuff like that. The sad thing is, they know it. OOPS!!

Every Friday we brainstorm what we learned during the week and write it down on a form so that the parents can see we actually did stuff at school. Then I do these little conferences with them on how their behavior was. This is my favorite part because then they remember just how busted they are for doing things like cussing, pulling up girls’ shirts, gluing crayons to the inside of their brand new desks, etc.  But sometimes their answers make my week. One little boy raised his hand and said, “um….this week? We, um…. We learned not to eat the science experiments!”

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