Sunday, February 13, 2005

I'll show you mine...

As you know, the kids are teaching lessons on different groups of invertebrates.

The textbook - their main source of information - didn't feel the need to go into much detail about some of the more intricate details of invertebrate reproduction.

The word of the day on Thursday and Friday was "hermaphroditic." It was hilarious listening to the students attempting to explain - with varying degrees of success - exactly how worms go about having sex, and how, exactly, they can be male and female at the same time.

And then there were the students studying cnidarians - jellies, coral, etc. The book said that they could reproduce sexually or asexually, and explained asexual "budding" in great detail, but did not elaborate on sexual reproduction (the males release sperm into the water, the females release eggs into the water, and the two meet). When questioned by another student, this poor thirteen year old boy found himself standing at the front of the room lecturing on sperm and egg, two words I'm pretty sure he'd never said in front of ALL his classmates before! Not really knowing about external fertilization, he reverted to the model he's familiar with: mammals.

"Well, the male, you know, puts his, you know, into the female, and, uh, releases sperm, and they, uh, you know, join with her, uh, eggs, um, inside her, you know."

I have been giggling about jellyfish with little jelly penises ever since.

(Don't worry, I'm going to go back and explain some of this stuff and attempt to correct the misconceptions... in fact, based on Thursday and Friday, I've decided it's more realistic to do two lessons a day (rather than three) with some time left over for me to fill in missing details, highlight important points, and correct the most egregious errors made by my fledgling science teachers).


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