Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Winnie the Pooh, Scientist

We are reading Winnie the Pooh, and when he is rhyming about fir cones, he trips and falls and the fir cone falls into the river.

"Bother," said Pooh, as it floated slowly under the bridge, and he went back to get another fir-cone which had a rhyme to it. But then he thought that he would just look at the river instead, because it was a peaceful sort of day, s he lay down and looked at it, and it slipped slowly away beneath him... and suddenly, there was his fir-cone slipping away too.

"That's funny," said Pooh. "I dropped it on the other side," said Pooh, "and it came out on this side! I wonder if it would do it again?" And he went back for some more fir-cones.

It did. It kept doing it."

More scientific breakthroughs have occurred because someone said, "That's funny," then anything else.

This is an excellent summary of the scientific method. You notice something happened, you wonder why it happened, you wonder if you can make it happen again, and you try making it happen again.

All children start out as little scientists they watch what Mommy and Daddy do and they figure out how to do it themselves. We seem to lose that amazing skill far too early, but you can keep it going.

One of the big skills your children need to learn is the power of observation. They need to be able to really see what is happening around them. Games like Concentration and I Spy... are really good at that. Video games can do this but often it is not brought into the real world and that is a pity.

It is that ability that marks the difference between man and beast. We can see something happening and react to it before it happens the next time.

Fruit has been falling off of trees for a very long time, and the Moon has light up the sky for even longer, but it took until the 18th Century went Isaac Newton finally noticed that while apples fall off trees, the Moon hangs in the sky. He basically said to himself, "That's funny, this apple that just hit me falls down, but yet the Moon hasn't fallen down. I wonder why?" Answering that question consumed a number of years of his life but our modern world has depended on his answering just that question.


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