Destroying The Scientific Method

, , , , , , , | Learning | August 30, 2019

(I’m visiting my sister and we’re picking her kid up from school. While we’re there, I learn that the students are learning about biology. I’m a microbiology PhD student, and the teacher excitedly tells the students that I’m a scientist. When considering their questions — and my answers — please bear in mind that I’ve studied two classes of bacterial genes for the past three years and just about nothing else.)

Child #1: “Ms. [My Name], if lily pads were blue, would frogs be blue?”

Me: “I, uh, maybe, but frogs spend time with other plants, too, so–”

Child #2: “Ms. [Almost My Name], if I fed a tadpole a little bit of salt every day, could I make a frog that lives in the ocean?”

Me: “Not right away, but if you kept feeding lots of tadpoles a little bit of salt over hundreds of years, maybe!”

Child #3: “Ms. [Definitely Not My Name], what’s ‘serviette’ mean?” 

Me: “Oh, that’s just a fancy word for a napkin.”

Child #1: “Ms. [My Name], when there were dinosaurs, were the frogs really big?”

Me: “Well, they wouldn’t be frogs, but they might be ancestors of frogs that–”

Child #3: “So, why did they used call Russia the serviette union?”

Me: “–ancestors of frogs… that… They used to call it the Soviet Union. ‘Soviet’ is a Russian word for… farmer, I think.”

(It’s not. But I couldn’t remember what it did mean, because…)

Child #2: “Only I have a bucket of tadpoles, and I gave then a little salt, and they’re all okay, except the ones Henry ate.”

Me: “Henry… ate..?”

Child #2: “Like this!” *baring her teeth* “Raar raar raar!”

Children #1 and #3: “Raar raar!”

(A bell rings, and they disappear. I go talk to the teacher.)

Me: “So… biology. Lot about frogs, I guess?”

Teacher: “Oh, no. We’ve been talking about trees. But I brought a frog to class and it jumped onto a student’s head, and they still haven’t stopped trying to make it happen again.”

Me: “Also, this might be important. Who’s Henry?”

(The teacher points to a small boy who’s hitting a pencil with another pencil.)

Teacher: “Oh, also, that’s the name of the principals’ cat. Why do you ask?”

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