Brian Yee

Neither Here Nor There

Learning All the Time

This morning was a good opportunity to take some phenomenon in the natural world and explain what it was and how it works – all while the kids were naturally interested in it.  I try to look for opportunities to do this and encourage the kids to think about the mechanisms that are all around us.

This happened during breakfast when Josiah wanted to have the bottle of honey to see it flow around inside the bottle as he turned it end over end.  Perfect opportunity to explain viscosity.  So we got out a bottle of corn syrup, molasses, and bubble solution and compared how they moved around inside their containers.  Honey was the absolute winner in viscosity (it was much slower than actual molasses, surprisingly or not).  Even if they don’t remember the term, they hopefully will remember the example.

Then I saw a good opportunity to transition this to the 3 states of matter (leaving out plasma for now) since solids don’t flow and liquids do.   Coconut oil turned out to be a great example of a state transition (even better than ice) since it is solid at room temperature, but not “cold”, and quickly liquifies on your warm skin.

At least in kindergarten, I’m sure that my daughter is leaning a lot about social interaction — but I’m hoping I can teach her something more:  to look at the world around her and be in wonder at how things work.

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Pizza Cognition Theory

From Serious Eats comes the Pizza Cognition Theory which stems from how people learn what something is — which is that they first must learn what that thing is *not*:

The first slice of pizza a child sees and tastes (and somehow appreciates on something more than a childlike, mmmgoood, thanks-mom level), becomes, for him, pizza. He relegates all subsequent slices, if they are different in some manner from that first triangle of dough and cheese and tomato and oil and herbs and spices, to a status that we can characterize as not pizza.

What you first recognize as Pizza will forever be Pizza to you, everything else will be “not pizza” or “another kind of pizza”.  For me (for better or worse) it’s the Little Caesar’s standard pizza.  Everything else substantially different gets described with a qualifier (i.e. Buddy’s pizza).

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