I responded that the sky doesn't "know" that plants need water, and doesn't care, and that even among living things, most beings are out for themselves. In the ensuing (two minute) discussion of altruism and self-interest, a girl sitting near me quietly pointed out that humans are pretty much the same.
In robotics, one of my sixth graders, the kind of kid who is like a spring perpetually uncoiling, asked if he could take his sweatshirt off.
You can if you have a uniform shirt on underneath.
He did, but as he walked away, I noticed that his fly was gaping open. The kid is tiny, but he still manages to wear the most enormous pants, and the fly was equally enormous.
Psst! I got his attention and hissed, Zip up your pants!
He couldn't hear me. I beckoned him over. As he was walking over, he realized what I'd said.
Oh, I know what you're talking about. It's okay - it doesn't work right! But it's okay!
Um, no, I think you'd better put the sweatshirt back on.
I love that this kid would have, apparently, been perfectly content to walk around his middle school after school club with his fly unzipped, no shame. Sixth graders. Gotta love 'em.
Telling this story to a colleague on our way home, she told me that this same kid, during a film on ancient Rome, could not contain his question. Ask him to save a question for later, and he sits tensed like a sprinter in the starting blocks.
You can't wait until after the movie is over? she asked him.
No, it's really important!
Okay, come on over and whisper it to me.
The boy walked up to where she was sitting.
Could people in ancient Rome, like, choose to be gladiators because they wanted to?
And we both agreed that teaching has made us OCD about our flies being zipped. I'm like the person who locks and relocks the door a dozen times before leaving the house; I check, and check, and check again that everything is fastened, buttoned, and zipped properly.