C. P. Snow’s two cultures are alive and well and living in Melbourne

I am a scientist by nature and training, while my_reason_for_living is a big brained Ph.D of Humanities. So we are in a constant struggle over where the heart and mind of the nine year old weapon_against_society will lead.

I am pleased to declare that the forces of order and light have won a significant victory.

This week we got the_weapon’s results from NAPLAN. The National Assessment Program for literacy and numeracy conducted on every year three student in Australian schools. The_weapon tested high in everything, but it was in numeracy he kicked butt. He did so well we considered getting him tested genetically to see if he is Asian.

There are a lot of things which contributed to this,  time spent on basic numeracy drills, he does lots of good hard work on an on-line program called Mathletics and he is learning piano. There is some evidence that it contributes to mathematical ability. Some question over correlation and causation. Kids who are good at maths do well at music or the learning music helps them do maths.

The final salvo came when the_weapon declared one evening “I want to be a particle physicist

I suspect interest in quantum mechanics comes from the same place he learned the song he was singing on a street corner in Brisneyland last week to a friends I-pod

Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait…
The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall (we built the pyramids),
Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries,
That all started with the big bang!

But not to be complacent I am seeking out other ways to brainwash the_weapon.  Yes I realise it’s brainwashing -any parent who calls it anything like socialization is deluding themselves, parenting is all about brainwashing and operant conditioning.

The latest tool in my arsenal to get him to join the side of science. The excellent work of the band ‘The Might Be Giants’ and their CD ‘Here Comes Science‘. Which has the_weapon singing this song around the house.

I love diggin’ in the dirt
With just a pick and brush
Finding fossils is my aim
So I’m never in a rush
The treasures that I seek
Are rare and ancient things
Like velociraptor’s jaw
Or archaeopteryx’s wing

And all the kids
Who wanna see ’em
Are lining up
At our museum

I am a paleontologist
That’s who I am, that’s who I am, that’s who I am
I am a paleontologist
That’s who I am, that’s who I am, that’s who I am

so any other suggestions for ways to produce a science head?


  1. I assume you have already got him one of those chemisty sets. So how about some mechano (not sure i spelt that right).

    Dvds of the first season of MacGyver when it was still about what he can create using science.

    I imagine you already have him watching Mythbusters. As well as containing science it also encourages a questioning mind.

    • Thanks Nautilus they are great ideas, Meccano check – the latest being the model steam train. Mythbusters is a big hit. Hadn’t considered MacGyver but will look into it.

  2. I’ll second Naut’s suggestion as well as adding a microscope (you can get basic USB devices so a computer is involved as well). Science Fiction especially where they pay attention to science.

    PS http://www1.jaycar.com.au/productResults.asp?FORM=KEYWORD

    • Bangarr
      Microscope & Telescope check

      thanks for that link to Jaycar some of those will be on the Christmass list.

  3. Take the Weapon out on some hikes to see the local flora and fauna, and explain about things like the predator/prey cycle, or photosynthesis, or the water cycle (evaporation, condensation, precipitation). I like the idea of Meccano and chemistry sets as well.

    I don’t know the math/music correlation (a musical type could probably explain it), but I suspect the numerical process of keeping time has something to do with it.

    Good for the boy! Keep encouraging him!

    • Thanks Yankeedog that’s good advice.
      We need to increase our rambles with that in mind. Besides which he has picked out all the best places for ambush by velociraptors and to fortify against zombies.

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