PBS's Sid may be the definitive science kid, but he'd better take note of the competition. Whatever knowledge the first-grade teacher is imparting to her students in a little Kansas school, Sooby is paying attention, and, apparently, loving every minute. She also found several occasions to share her newfound knowledge with me on her most recent visit.
Take, for instance, the biological expertise apparent in her definition of cells and her description of of their purpose. "Cells," she informs me, "are little bags of life that, when they are dying, get pushed into hair holes and make your hair grow."
"Alrighty then," I think. I am still pondering the metaphor of the "little bags" when she turns to physics and the topic of gravity. "Gravity is making my stomach feel heavy," she says, whereupon she throws herself across Pa-pa's exercise ball and proceeds to wallow around the bedroom floor. "There," she tells me as she dismounts. "That feels better."
Although I have to laugh at the way a six-year-old ingests science concepts and makes her own kind of sense out of them, I also am somewhat impressed that, at age six and a half, her understanding of them is--on a very basic level--right. Cells contain the material of life. Hair is composed of dead cells. Gravity makes things feel heavy. In a world that runs on computer technology and has put men on the moon, that is a start.
Taking in a Happy Meal on the last day of their visit, the kids were delighted to get toys promoting the movie Mr. Peabody and Sherman. Of course, Mr. Peabody, the smartest dog in the world, dates back to my own childhood days, when he and Sherman took a trip in their time machine every week on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
I marvel at the advances made by science since the 1960s. There is so much more for the kids these days to wrap their heads around. To have experienced so much rapid change myself is almost like a form of time travel. Even George and Jane Jetson don't seem that far-fetched anymore.
I am thankful that those little bags of life of mine have continued to meiose or mitose like they are supposed to early into my seventh decade on this earth. Because of that, I get to experience the singular wisdom of grandkids as they learn the underlying principles that make their world tick.