Sunday, March 14, 2010

as apprentice to an amazing universe . . .

Science Day ’10

whatever game the universe plays,
it has rules, and rules that can be discovered,

we humans can be capricious,
and it’s easy to jump to assigning effect
to a universe which is as puppet to a puppet-master
called fate, astrology, the magic of a Hogwarts world,
the Greeks taught us both the power of individual and collective reason,
and to fear the gods’ thunderbolts, earthquakes, meddling in our affairs,

this day we give science, and the scientist, their due:
from the opening presentation by Glenn Murphy,

who loves to learn the rules and
who loves to find ways to bring middle schoolers along
into unlocking and solving what puzzles us,
I look out at the kids while he performs and presents
creative explorations of answers to perplexing questions,
“What’s at the center of the universe. . . are humans still evolving?”,

and their eyes rivet to him, only a few off somewhere else inside,
laughs bubble up, bodies rock back in the humor,
eyes connect with each other to share the discovery in the moment,

the rest of the morning? 15 workshops led by science folks
who have answered the calling to give themselves
to the pursuit of the truth that can be revealed with science,

and who have answered the calling to find ways
to bring our students along on the journey of discovery,
lab coats,

rockets, DNA in theory & from strawberries,
the touch of a snake,

a dove, a berry on the tongue,

to role play birds in migration,
to stretch the mind in attempt after attempt to hold ideas
that may be true but certainly aren’t easy,

to the afternoon when we showcase science on posters,
as each studies the others’ experiments,
getting into the science, the person, and the response,
also in the afternoon, challenges,
explorations of how the world works,
and how we can find patterns to work within the game,
demonstrate that we can succeed in the games the universe allows,
to make a marble drop in a set time,
to drop an egg with only local, natural materials to cushion the fall,

to appreciate the excellence of the other
with applause,

kits, and books,

and as we move forward,
we learn deeper how wondrous it is to learn,
to apprentice to a universe that is rational and amazing.

by Henry Walker
March 12, ’10

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