Tracks and Tales
By Pamela Holz, Washington County Conservation Board Naturalist
Let?s take a break from this seemingly unending heat and enjoy the light-heartedness of kids just being kids.
What follows are some situations and comments I have encountered inside the classroom and out.
Under the category of things you hope they don?t tell mom and dad: a class of second graders had just finished a simulation of pioneers traveling through Iowa, which included a talk about what was used as medicine in the past.
During the conclusion, I was attempting to console some disappointed students by saying, ?It?s not important if you died [in the simulation]. As long as you learned something.? One student immediately responded, ?Yeah, I leaned that you die if you don?t have alcohol.?
Proving someone is watching too many commercials: during a fall program on trees, I asked the students what season is it? The response: cold and flu.
Family life just isn?t what it used to be: while teaching the different types of rocks to fourth graders, we reached a point to discuss erosion. I asked the kids, what do we call it when rocks break up? Answer: divorce.
Of course, my family doesn?t always help either: my daughter was volunteering for a summer camp when the campers started throwing rocks in the pond. I told the kids to stop and followed with my standard response to discourage further throwing: you can?t because then you?ll hit a fish on the head and it?ll have a headache, and it can?t go to the store to get aspirin because it doesn?t have any pockets to hold its money in. My very helpful daughter piped in: ?Mom, they have banks,? pointing to the shore.
Showing young children interpret questions very broadly: I asked kindergartners who was at the first Thanksgiving? Answer: the turkey.
However, older kids should think before answering: during a talk on hypothermia, I spoke on the effects on different body parts. Since the torso and head are the most important body parts, our body takes care of them first. This means our limbs often get cold before anything else. One third grader asked for clarification: so we don?t need our arms and legs?
And some kids are way too literal: during a second grade recycling program, I was trying to get the students to understand that our material goods all come from natural resources, aka the earth, nature. I asked, ?Where does your ?stuff? come from?? The not exactly incorrect reply: Mom.
Why kids don?t get away with as much as they think: kindergartners were returning from recess and I had my back to them. Two walked up (not snuck) behind me and said ?Boo!? Without turning my head, I waved over my shoulder and said hi. One of them asked, how did you know we were behind you?
And sometimes you just can?t tell the thought pattern: in looking at skulls, one kindergartner replied, ?I know that is a boy deer. Boy deer have horns and girls have ears.?
Younger kids have a logic and a reality all their own. Witness the following conversation at the end of a preschool field trip. Their bus had initially parked at the Center but later moved to the Lodge.
Preschooler to me: the bus moved.
Me: Yeah, they drove over there to make it easier for you to have lunch.
Her: No, I think it was pushed.
Me: Pushed? Driving would be easier.
Her: No, it was pushed.
Me: You?d have to be pretty strong to push a bus.
Her: I think an elephant did it.
Me: Well, an elephant probably is strong enough to push a bus.