The son and I were poring over the article to select. It was an important decision to make. I was being given the opportunity to read to the son’s classroom. He was proof reading the list of articles I had from approximately 1000 articles that I thought might interest an elementary school classroom.
“This one is nice Amma, but it has too many big words.”
“This one – ahem! No!”
“Oh come on! How about this one? That’ll appeal to the cat lover in your class!”
“Hmm….you are right there. But I already showed him that article you showed me last week on toxoplasma gondii Amma.”
“This one – maybe – maybe. But let’s look for something that will catch the attention from the beginning.”
So it went, till I showed him one that I knew would get his attention.
The cosmologist in him sat up, the child in him shone. He beamed at this one.
In this one, the astrophysicist, Carl Sagan, writes about how he could get up anywhere on the solar system and figure out which planet he would be on purely by looking at the skies. I could say the children marveled at that thought process.
The essay, Sacred Black , in the book, Pale Blue Dot is well worth reading. He explains the reasoning behind the colors of the planets as we see them. He deduces the color of the sky based on the elements found in their atmospheres.
- Venus, he says, probably has a red sky.
- Mars has a sky that is between ochre and pink much like the colors of the desert.
- Jupiter, Saturn – worlds with such giant atmospheres such that sunlight hardly penetrates it, have black skies interrupted here and there by strokes of lightning in the thick mop of clouds surrounding the planets.
- Uranus & Neptune – uncanny, austere blue color. The skies may be blue or green at a certain depth resulting in an aquamarine or an ‘unearthly blue’.
When we were through with the article, I asked the young cosmonauts what they visualized their best skies to look like. Of course, there was a magnificent range of answers including one that somehow involved cats!
“Oh! You must be the cat-lover!” I said laughing, and the ailurophile or felinophile (cat lover) grinned cattishly.
I told the fellow about the post on toxoplasma gondii and their teacher laughed too. Her day involves moving attentions from cats to maths multiple times a day.
So, it was that I read: Why the sky isn’t green – a science based article followed by a trip to a place of pure imagination and fantasy: St Patrick’s Day in the Jungle
Of course, the children switched tracks marvelously, and we finished the class reading by discussing the Irish music in St Patrick’s Day in the Jungle done by a good friend with a refined musical sense, and the talented artists from Holland who helped with the illustrations for the little book.
The iBook is also available: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/st.-patricks-day-in-the-jungle/id829152649?ls=1&mt=11 (Please go to iBooks on your iPad and then look for the book)
After the story, the c. lover was the only one who wanted to know whether the tiger did manage to escape the trap set by Oby Elephant after all in the St Patrick’s Day in the Jungle book.
I seldom fail to come away refreshed after a visit to the classroom, and this time was no different. An otherwise dull week sparkled with the memory, and shone on through the week-end.
Why do we grow up really?