Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Dinner Party

Whenever I sub for grades 6-12, I almost never have to actually teach anything. I am there to make sure the kids do not injure each other (or me) and they are given busy work or a movie and I get paid to sit there and stare. Yay!

But when I sub elementary school, I have to teach. And this should be easy, since I passed the test that says I am not a moron and I am smarter than a 5th grader.
Only I sometimes forget the basic stuff because I haven’t thought about it in YEARS. Stuff like multiplying fractions and the science terms. The hip-bone’s-connected-to-the-knee-bone, that kind of stuff. I actually got Ds in every high school science class I ever took because I do not possess a scientific mind, and also you have to actually turn your work in (who knew?) to get grades. I just do NOT understand the goings-on of biology and chemistry and forget physics. Just forget it. I’m an emotional thinker. I wonder about motivation, inspiration, and feelings. And science just doesn’t have that. I can’t answer “what causes sunlight to refract into color?” with “the light had a sense of purpose in doing so, and knew it would bring happiness to everyone it touched…”

So one day, I was subbing for 4th grade so their teacher could run tests, and as I skimmed through the lesson plans, I saw: Teach them about the parts of an atom. OMFG THE PARTS OF AN ATOM?! WHAT ARE THE PARTS OF AN ATOM QUICK GOOGLE-FU. Oh yeah! Protons, electrons, blah-blah-blahtrons! But the charges, too?? THIS IS HARD I’D RATHER BE SHOPPING. I skimmed through their science books and got the basics back into my mind. I could do this. I could teach them the parts of an atom! I am a Substitute Teacher Extraordinaire! *cue trumpets*

Their teacher decided to stay inside the classroom and test her kids individually, which made me super nervous because I had this fear she would stop me in the middle of the lesson and say OMFG YOU ARE SO WRONG HOW DID THEY LET YOU NEAR KIDS?! and I would be horrified. So the science lesson began, and the kids got their books out. And I nervously started talking about the parts of an atom.

I turned the atom into a dinner party. And I turned the parts into anthropomorphic beings. I was like “So Electron…he’s negative. What else does negative mean? Right, always thinking the worst, no fun to be around…so that’s why he can’t be in the party in the nucleus, because he’s such a bummer. He hangs out outside of the nucleus. We don’t invite negative electrons to this raging nucleus party, right?”

This is what Electron looked like to me.

And here were the others:

Proton (who’s so positive) and Neutron (the neutral one, who’s very chill) and just as I was about to continue, their teacher said “Excuse me, just a second.”

I froze. She was going to yell at me for turning science into some lame dinner party. I KNEW IT I DON’T KNOW SCIENCE I FAILED!! I JUST WANT TO TEACH HISTORY! OMG I AM SORRY!!

She turned to the kids and said “Boys and girls, I really hope you’re writing this all down just like she’s saying it, because this is awesome! You really need to pay attention to this!”

Me: 0_0

Really?! Awesome?! The Atomic Dinner Party was a hit?! A HIT?! I TAUGHT SOMETHING IN SCIENCE?!!!



  1. Oh, I love that! If my science teachers had explained things that way I definitely would have remembered more, haha!

  2. That's flippin' genius. Not only is it cute, but it makes sense to a fellow non-scientific mind like myself. Awesome that even the teacher recognized it (and will most likely steal your idea, haha).

  3. Me thinks I'll keep the Atomic dinner party in mind when I take my chem final tomorrow :P

  4. There is nothing about this that I don't love.