We started changing classes in fifth grade, and maybe that made the science teacher think we were too old for experiments and switch us over to a menu of lectures and tests. Whatever the reason, I found it dry, boring, and with every word she uttered, I saw dust flying out of her mouth. So I did what any fifth-grade girl would do: I volunteered to take over the teaching responsibilities.
Using my science book as an outline, I’d go home every day after school and turn our kitchen into my science lab, concocting all sorts of hands-on experiments. Because I couldn’t bribe the teacher to loan me her teacher’s book and it being before the internet and all, I had to conjure up my own experiments. And let me tell you what: there would be no banal and commonplace volcanoes exploding during my
One of my finest, if I do say so myself, demonstration was illustrating how mountains are formed. Here’s what I did, in case you want to try it yourself at home: I mixed up a batch of orange jello and poured a little bit in the bottom of a glass bread pan then put it in the fridge to set up. Next I mixed up some lime Jello, poured a little bit over the congealed orange Jello, and put it in the fridge to set up. Then I mixed up some grape Jello (my favorite, next to Cherry and Watermelon), poured a little over the top of the lime Jello, and set the glass bread pan in the fridge to set up. While it was in the refrigerator, I went out to the barn and found a board, a saw, and my daddy to operate the saw cutting the board down to a size that would fit in the end of the glass bread pan. Obviously I’d already studied about how mountains are formed, so I made notes containing the highlights of what I wanted to say then loaded up some wax paper, paper towels, my notes, and the board in my
briefcase green overnight bag.
The next morning, I retrieved the glass bread pan from the fridge, set it inside my bag, and headed out to school. During science glass (which was fortunately second period because the lunchroom women didn’t have room in the fridge for my science experiments), I gave a little talk about mountains, then pushed that board in one end of the glass bread pan and started pushing it towards the other end, causing the layers of jello to rise and ripple just like mountains do.
Turns out I should’ve brought the entire box of wax paper and two entire rolls of paper towels.
Once I built up a little confidence in my teaching abilities, I created (with a
little lot of help from Daddy again) a multi-media extravaganza light-up board. Just the thought of that thing brings tears to my eyes. Those wires covered in red and green. those words and photos cut from magazines, that piece of paneling I sanded and stained, the hinge Daddy and I developed so the board would stand alone, those adorable little tiny light bulbs I took from every flashlight I could find. It was one of my finest, that’s for sure.
Another time on the eve of the earth chapter, I was walking through Alford’s when I spied a workbook that covered just about everything I wanted to cover in that segment. So the next day, after showing the class my copy of the workbook, I proposed that everybody bring in 59-cents for me to buy additional copies for them. They did, I did, and I don’t know about my classmates-turned-students, but I loved that workbook with all it’s color illustrations and fill-in-the-blank questions like you wouldn’t believe.
You’re probably wondering what final grade I got in science that year. Well, here you go:
Personally, I think I deserved an A+ – maybe even an A+++ – but, alas, grading and doing report cards didn’t fall under my student teaching responsibilities.
Please excuse Jeanne for being a day late with story #44. She was so tired yesterday, that she laid down for a nap at 4:15 p.m. and didn’t wake up till 10:30 this morning.