Imagine you find yourself in the middle of the night trying to find simple explanations to all possible questions that could come to the mind of an 11 year old trying to understand for example why the sky is blue and the sunset red.
And yes you can’t fall asleep until you figure them all out; you are on a classic physics teacher’s high, there is no medicine that can help you.
Science festival in our school has showed me that all we need is to create an opportunity for students to get involved, interested, and they will show an amazing enthusiasm both for experimenting, asking questions and explaining science to each other. We were all witnesses that the best learning was happening when we teachers stepped back (after getting everything up and running of course;). The older students seemed to come alive in the situation of involving the younger students in the experiments, which showed among other things, how to make colorful shadows, steal colors from flowers or what colors are inside a black marker. Most numerous where fans of chemistry, it seems that the majority of 7 graders can’t resist the appeal of test tubes and mixing liquids of different colors, temperatures and densities, or rather not get them all mixed up with an impressive degree of skill.
I wasn’t the only one very impressed when listening to a student, with an extremely thorough scientific preparation on the subject, talking about why all cats in the night are black. From what I heard, the passion with which other students explained the effect of blue sky by demonstrating Rayleigh scattering of light in the tank of water with a few drops of milk, was highly contagious. It seems that the best explanations of all that complicated science came from students, who were very well prepared of their own accord.
Teachers should have slept peacefully not spending the night deriving how does the dependence of refractive index on wavelengths follow from the theory of electromagnetism, just in case anyone asks. It wouldn’t be as convincing as the explanations of fellow students on why we see rainbow. The science festival gave us teachers an opportunity to see the students spread their wings. Above all did give us all an occasion to get more curious than ever, ask deeper questions and learn, and that is what it’s all about. So go ahead if you still don’t know ask around the school why the sky is blue or even why the second arch of the rainbow has inverted colors. To be honest the albino peacock is still a mystery to some of us.