Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Real Crystal

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," offering sage and thymely information since 2005! My, has the thyme ever flown!

Occasionally I wear a quartz crystal to school. It's on a string. It's not a really big one. I would say it's just slightly smaller than my thumb.

Yesterday afternoon one of my students challenged me on it. He said it was fake. I couldn't convince him it was real ... and as a teacher you know that doing so is wasting valuable learning thyme.

Several of my students have expressed the same skepticism since the beginning of the year. One said that crystals never got that big.

I was thinking about this last night as I played with Decibel.

The student who couldn't believe that my crystal is real probably spends less than one percent of his life on grassy surfaces -- and he plays baseball. The vast majority of my students are entirely bound to asphalt. They walk on sidewalks to the corner store, they jump into the school bus off the pavement, they stay inside at home, and they hang around the basketball court at school. If they aren't in a building, they also aren't in the grass. They are prisoners of the city.

This is so sad.

I suppose the opposite is the case out in the hinterlands. There are probably kids who only hit the asphalt when they get to school. Those kids wouldn't challenge the reality of a crystal -- they might even have seen crystals growing in caves.

One year I had a student named Crystal who had never seen a real crystal. I gave her one.

Personally I would like to give every one of my students a quartz crystal. But that would violate the First Amendment, as quartz crystals impart calm. I would also like to lead my students on a hike.

Oh well. I'll teach them English instead.


Alex (The amateur Geophysics guy) Pendragon said...

Picture books abound with photos of HUGE crystals that make yours look microscopic. Make them some learning related bets and pull it out from behind your back and watch their eyes get big and their tendency to question you drop another ten points.....hehe......

Tante Fledermaus said...

Outdoor education exists. I am a full-time field naturalist. All I do is show kids dirt and trees and squirrels and birds. I don't know about outdoor ed programs on your side of the continent, but they exist. It beats the hell out of fluorescent lights and worksheets. Check it out. You might find a treasure.

Lavanah said...

I wonder what the likelihood is, of a field trip out here to the Stirling Hill Mining Museum? Not only would they see crystals in the museum AND the mine itself, they might even see a cow or sheep or two on the way!

Anonymous said...

Good luck!
Oh, what about growing salt or sugar crystals right there in your classroom?

Anonymous said...

Funny, I thought "know your minerals," with those cards with little bits of semiprecious stone glued on, was a typical part of a child's upbringing. Then again, I was that weirdo who got way too excited finding a pink pebble.

But you know, other than a childhood fixation with stones, how this urbanite knew crystals grew to tremendous size?

The museum's Hall of Minerals. Heck yeah. But, not all museums are quite so awesome, so...