I threw out the ol' hit-the-bottle-with-a-rubber-mallet demo which is a lot of fun. I love the sound of breaking glass!
Not sure how well Pascal's law shines through the chaos (and I'm sure there are better ways to demo this), but it's a quick and dirty way to show it.
I wish I could--I don't have time. We need to get through the curriculum.
And he's right. He's teaching a college prep class, and must cover a lot of ground mandated by the state.
I have the luxury of teaching the low level students. No one expects a lot, and as a result, I can get a lot more done. Oh, I have a curriculum, and we have standards, but success at this level means getting through the year without bloodshed or conceptions in the classroom; it helps I'm an administrative write-up miser.
I joked that at least I get to teach science. I'm not sure he was amused, and I don't blame him. But it's true. Teaching science (in the sense of inquiry by the students) takes more time than the current curricula allow.
I can break as many bottles as I need to to rouse up love for Pascal. I can simultaneously drop a bowling ball and a penny a dozen times or more in one period to show that they do, indeed, hit the ground at the same time if released from the same height. And I can practice my craft in the literal sense. Practice this, try that--modify, assess, and modify again.
Evidence I can practice at the low level?
I am starting a wiki project in one of my classes. Not an honors class. Not even a college prep class.
Nope. Level 1 CP Physical Science. (Don't let the "CP" fool you--any class with a name longer than the District of Columbia betrays the subterranean level of the class.)
I can take chances with kids a good chunk of the education world wishes would just go away.
Problems? Oh, yeah!
Anyone who has worked in the basement knows that teaching kids at this level puts a whole new spin to the word "interesting." Sick parents. Nieces to care for. Dying grandparents. Food security issues. A perpetual lack of eyeglasses. Toothaches untended. Glassy eyes.
Tards. Morons. Idiots. Bad. Poor. Stupid. Illegals. Low class. Violent. No boundaries. Dumb.
You hear it often enough, you'd believe it to. And act it.
Do I have problems in my classroom? You bet...even had a, um, minor fire lit under a student's desk last year. (His defense? "It was a laser, I swear!") I had a pregnant true freshman. I've had kids with bruises they'll never explain.
I'm not going to sugarcoat and romanticize a whole class of kids that knows better than we do that they are not destined for Wall Street, for Harvard, for medicine, law, or even a decent union job at factories long closed.
Charms Candy Company, General Electric, Westinghouse, Scientific Glass--decent wages for hard work, now gone from our town.
I'm not going to get my kids interested in science by waving a blank parchment in front of them. Diplomas matter, as does science education. The mistake is believing that they matter for the same reason.
The Charms Candy photograph is from the Retro Sweet Candy Shop.