Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Comic-Book Physics and Accidental Education

At last, all three of my active blogs have converged in a single link. James Kakalios is a physics professor at University of Minnesota where he teaches a class called Everything I Know About Physics I Learned from Reading Comic Books. He puts it best when he says, "As a physics professor and a comic book fan,” he said, “I am simultaneously a nerd and a geek.” Amen, brother!

The Perky Skeptic and I are often looking for ways to show our son, B, how cool science is. That physics course sounds like just the thing. When he's a bit older, of course. But it got me thinking about the ways we have already begun to help him learn about the world.

Perky is a great teacher. Even before B could walk on his own, she would take him with her for walks around the neighborhood and along the way she would point out the various plants and flowers. She's wicked smart and knows the binomial nomenclature for most of them as well as the common names so B (who has an amazing memory) learned them quickly.

Once, when he was not quite three years old, he and I were in the front yard together and I saw him pick something off the ground and eat it.

"What do you have in your mouth?" I said in the way fathers have been saying to sons for eons.

"Oxcalis," he replied

I paused for a moment and said, "Fair enough."

Now, I didn't know that it was edible but I trusted that Perky did. And I figured she had passed this information on to our son. He also went on to correctly identify clover, poison ivy, and yucca (which when he was really little used to pronounce "gucca").

B is now five years old and I am amazed just about every day by something new he has learned and processed that I didn't even know he was exposed to. It's going to take a few more IEP meetings, I think, to get his school environment to be as tailored to his needs as his home environment but we're working on it.



Perky Skeptic said...

I must emphasize that I am actually not very smart; I just have wicked keen recall.

Joy said...

BOTH - extremely smart and freakishly good memory!