Thursday, October 28, 2004

Hall of Science

We took the eighth grade to the NY Hall of Science today, to see the Microbes and Molecules exhibits. I gave them a worksheet that required them to look through the museum's microscopes and draw two microbes of their choice, and then to pick a molecule and draw the structure of that molecule. Finally, they had to figure out which molecule the museum chose for a giant overhead model, and why they chose that molecule.

A funny and touching thing happened on the way home from the museum. The students on my bus began to sing. At first it was joking, a few kids singing campfire songs at the top of their lungs, shouted over by others. But eventually a few started singing popular dance and hip-hop songs, and soon the entire back of the bus joined in. It wasn't exactly melodious, and it's probably a good thing that I couldn't really understand most of the words to these songs, but I don't have it in me to stop children from singing together if that's what they want to do!

And then one boy said, "Let's sing Ms. Frizzle's song!" and they enthusiastically started singing the song about hydrogen that I wrote and performed for them last year. These were the cool kids in the eighth grade, sitting in the back of the bus a few seats from their teacher singing a geeky song she wrote a year ago to teach them about an element. And most of them remembered at least the chorus, and one girl remembered the whole song.

Meanwhile, a couple of kids sitting near me asked what music I listen to. I took my cd player out of my bag and let them listen to Northern State, a hip-hop group that I've been into lately. It's three white women from Long Island, kind of girl power in their message, very catchy... They were shocked and impressed that the cover had an explicit lyrics warning (yes, there are curses on the CD - but nothing they haven't heard before and the messages are positive - they'd just better not repeat any of the words!). I wasn't sure what the boys would think. After listening for a few minutes, one of them said, "This is funny rap!"

Ms. Frizzle: "Good funny or bad funny?"

Student: "Good funny!"

They listened to the CD for the rest of the bus ride, and I ended up promising to burn each of them a copy. So, if Northern State becomes the next big thing among a certain set of youth in the Bronx, don't forget to give me some credit! I even heard them muttering some of the lyrics after we got off the bus.

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