Friday Sprog Blogging: scaling problems

I know that a lot of features of the world seemed bigger to me when I was a kid than they do now, but I'm starting to think that it's not just a matter of me getting bigger relative to my surroundings. The Free-Ride offspring keep reminding me that it takes a while to really get a sense of scale.

Younger offspring: I did my homework at [the afterschool program], but the teachers didn't mark me down in the "Homework Heroes" book, so maybe I won't get ice cream at the party at the end of the year!

Dr. Free-Ride: But you've been doing your homework there and getting it recorded for most of the year. I think you'll get ice cream.

Elder offspring: You'll get a scoop of ice cream for each page you fill in the "Homework Heroes" book.

Dr. Free-Ride: And how many days worth of homework adds up to a whole page?

Elder offspring: Twenty-five.

Dr. Free-Ride: Eh, so not getting marked down for one day is just a 4% dent in your progress toward a scoop of ice cream.

Elder offspring: It's a lot quicker to earn each scoop of ice cream than if it took a googol days to fill each page.

Dr. Free-Ride: That would either be a really long school year or a really sad ice cream party.

* * * * *

Younger offspring: If we keep things picked up for three days in a row without you telling us to, we can have a hamster, right?

Dr. Free-Ride: Uh, it's going to be longer than three days in a row! We're looking for a more robust habit of tidiness than that.

Elder offspring: More like a thousand days in a row?

Younger offspring: A thousand?!

Dr. Free-Ride: Well, that's about three years.

Elder offspring: So we don't have to pick things up for that long?

Dr. Free-Ride: I hope that you will be tidy for that long, but you wouldn't have to demonstrate tidiness for that long in order to get a hamster.

Younger offspring: Good, because I want a hamster!

* * * * *
Younger offspring: How many seconds in a moment?

Dr. Free-Ride: You mean when I say, "Wait a moment"? There isn't a precise answer to that question.

Younger offspring: Is a moment a minute?

Dr. Free-Ride: Sometimes a moment is around a minute. Sometimes it's longer, though.

Younger offspring: Does "Wait a moment" really mean "Wait until I'm ready?"

Dr. Free-Ride: Yeah, pretty much.

* * * * *
Dr. Free-Ride: (while washing hands before dinner) Did your science teacher comment on your [Periodic Table of the elements] T-shirt today?

Elder offspring: No. I think she noticed it, though. Are germs smaller than atoms or bigger than atoms?

Dr. Free-Ride: That's a good question. Germs are pretty small, but they're made up of atoms, which are smaller still.

Elder offspring: Like water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen atoms?

Dr. Free-Ride: Yep. Water molecules are built up of atoms, germs are built up of atoms, the soap is made of atoms.

Elder offspring: I'm made of atoms?

Dr. Free-Ride: Everything in here is made of atoms.

Elder offspring: Even those people in the mirror?

Dr. Free-Ride: Uh ... the mirror is made of atoms, but those reflections are made of light ...

Elder offspring: And light isn't made of atoms.

Dr. Free-Ride: You got me.

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My moments of inertia are often longer than a minute.

By Uncle Fishy (not verified) on 19 Oct 2007 #permalink

Homework? Wee-sprog is just out of kindergarten isnt she? And she is getting homework??

Is that common on that side of the Pond?

By Donalbain (not verified) on 20 Oct 2007 #permalink

You say "common that side of the pond" being on the other side of he pond (UK) my sprog was given homework in reception class. (Thats 4-5 years old very first class in a real school (not nursery 3-4 which in many cases is nothing more than day care where they teach them to eat paint).

Admittedly homework consists of just reading but its still homework.

By BinaryJam (not verified) on 22 Oct 2007 #permalink

I am high school teacher on the UK side of the pond, and I often wonder about the value of giving homework to 11 year olds, let alone primary school kids. Reading on the other hand, I can understand, given our obsession (misplaced imho) with getting kids to read as quickly as possible.

By Donalbain (not verified) on 24 Oct 2007 #permalink