For those who don't know, this week is National Chemistry Week. An organization I'm a member of takes it upon themselves to organize schools and volunteers to go to said schools to teach elementary aged children about chemistry. I've been doing this for 5 years now. When I have to chose a school for my children, I wish I could do National Chemistry Week, because that 45 minutes says a LOT about a teacher. Today I taught two classes, 2nd grade and 4th grade. The behaviour is always a little bad when a visitor is in the classroom, not to mention they are playing and making a mess. But a good teacher recognizes the bad behaviour and squashes it instantly. In my many years of visiting schools, the teachers that paid the most attention and did the best job of squashing the bad were those at the Catholic schools. The public schools have been hit or miss on the teacher's ability to squash. In the past I have been amazed because the moment we walk in and start talking to the kids, the teacher assumes that her time is done and she can therefore catch up on grading. But today, WOW, the teacher left. For the entire time we were attempting to teach she left. We are not teachers, therefore we do not know how to control a class. Especially a class of obnoxious 10 year olds. I have a hard time with 18 year olds, but they don't cry if you yell at them. Needless to say, I do have a newfound respect for teachers every year that I attempt to teach kids about chemistry. And every year I know that I did the right thing not going into elementary education. YIKES. After 45 mins I was ready for a beer.
If you were wondering what experiment we did:
Film canister + water
Balloon + broken alka-seltzer tablet
fit balloon over film canister opening
make the alka selter tablet fall into the water
balloon blows up! yay for carbon dioxide! yay for chemistry!
the other experiment is not so easy and not so fun and really messy. And for some reason the people in charge of choosing the experiments always make this nasty stuff and call it something different every year. Last year is was a bouncy ball, the two years before that it was Oobleck and this year it was silly putty. It's really frustrating to go to a classroom and have the kids tell you over and over again that they did this experiment last year.
The moral of my story, sign up for national chemistry week and go to the different schools, you might be able to find out which is the best one. Or just send your kids to Catholic school. It's expensive but the teachers want to be there.
Maine and New Hampshire
10 months ago