Thursday, January 7, 2010

And the Large Hadron Collider is totally like that boy Jeff

Our oldest daughter is in 6th grade and started a private, all-girls middle school last fall. In making the decision to send her there, we certainly considered the merits of a single-sex education, though maybe didn't drill down into the details too closely...there wasn't much doubt that it was the right place for her, what with the "I LOVE that school! We did the coolest math problems!" we heard back when she spent a day there shadowing a current student.

Her enthusiasm for the place has really validated the decision to send her, but as for what goes on in a classroom...well, let's just say she shares it with us on a need to know basis. (As opposed to the twin girls who are her best friends, and who give their mother a minute-by-minute real time review of their day, from 3 pm until she begs for mercy at 9 pm.)

But over vacation I got some interesting insight into why the girls-only approach works. Our daughter came to me with a glass jar holding oil and water. "See how they don't mix? I'm going to add a magic ingredient and you can see how it changes." She disappeared into the kitchen and emerged with the same jar, now filled with liquid of a single cloudy consistency. "Dish soap!" she said, triumphantly.

"Why does dish soap do that to oil and water?" I asked. (I need to feel secure that our money is paying for some real edumacation.)

"Because the molecules in the dish soap adhere both to oil and to water, and that allows them to mix with each other," she said. "See, it's like there's Girl A, oil, and she hates Girl C, water. But when Girl B is around, they both like her, and A and C can get along for B's sake."

Can't you just picture a room full of 11 year old girls nodding their heads and thinking "I am Girl B!" A boy would probably think, "What the heck are they talking about - they all play on the same baseball team."

I assume that in the seventh and eighth grade, the curriculum will go full vampire.

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