Monthly Archives: March 2010

The Meniscus of 2nd Graders

I learned yesterday that, in the wonderful state of North Carolina, 2nd graders in the public/government schools are taught a rigorous science  curriculum.  And not all rigor is mortis, the man once said.  That being said, certain forms of rigor leads to mortis, especially as it relates to teaching science.  So what is the quickest way to kill a child’s love of exploration and eliminate the jaw-dropping wonder they naturally aim at the mysterious beauty of the created order in which they live?  The wonder-killer for a second grader is to make rigor look like a very long list of vocabulary words.  Vocabulary words are not the enemy in this case.  Words are good.  Words are our friends.  But a curriculum that works real hard at getting words into the heads of 2nd graders without working equally as hard at getting dirt under their fingernails is swiftly approaching that mortis about which we spoke earlier.  By what authority do you make these assertions?  Who died and made me science curriculum auditor, you might ask?  Well, I must admit at this point that I am not a certified science teacher, though I taught science for three years in the public schools in VA.  And I must admit that I carry no degree in child psychology, though I am the father of three children ages 8 and under.  So technically I carry very little weight.  This is, after all, only one blog among about 4 bajillion others.  But there is one thing that I do know for sure that I bet you don’t… the science-lab meaning of meniscus.  So what does it mean?  Go ask a 2nd grader from NC and hope she has done her homework.

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Kirk Blankenship

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