Random Outbursts Of Science

Friday, August 08, 2014 0 Comments A+ a-

This story was originally posted in September 2013.

Right now, since Phoenix is 4½ and technically still in preschool, my main goals are to work on reading and math. Everything else is very casual... and it seems that casual has been working great. Today, he blew my mind with two random outbursts of science. The first was when he told me that if there's a fire, you can put it out by putting carbon dioxide on it. Apparently it was something he had learned on Bill Nye The Science Guy earlier that day.  Was I impressed by his ability to recall the name of a chemical compound he heard mentioned on tv earlier? Absolutely! And then, later, while we were reading a book about elements before he went down for his nap, he pointed to a picture of fireworks and asked, "Mom, is that a supernova?" "No, those are fireworks," I told him. "But do they spread elements like a supernova?" he asked.


  carl-sagan-star-stuff

My jaw hit the floor. Months ago, I explained to him that supernovas were stars that had exploded... and that is where the stuff that makes up everything in the universe comes from. When they explode, they send elements out into the universe that end up turning into things... planets... and people. I explained how we are all made of stardust, and that the stuff that makes up his right arm might have come from a different exploding star than the stuff that makes up his left arm. Complex for a 4-year-old? You bet. But, he's a bit into science and astronomy, so I figured there's no harm in introducing some pretty cool things to him. What blew my mind is that months after explaining this to him, it was fresh in his head, like I had just told him yesterday. The boy has a craving for science like nothing I've ever seen, and I'm looking forward to making sure he learns everything he wants to. Oh yeah, because that bedtime book about elements? That was a specific request of his.


PS - For those interested in learning more about how we're all made of stars, check out "How the Universe Works ". It beautifully tells the story of how stars were made by the universe and they then went on to engineer everything else in that very universe. Stars changed the Universe by spawning further generations of stars, then planets and eventually the building blocks of life.
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