GeekDad Report: Here Comes Science
This past X-Mass my family was given a CD, They Might Be Giants: Here Comes Science. Our initial reaction was one of mixed indifference. Truthfully, receiving a physical CD these days feels a bit odd. I haven’t bought one myself for a few years now. It was a happy reminder of my youth, opening that jewel-case and prying the disc from the impossibly iron grip of the plastic claws holding it in place. Once pried from it’s plastic death grip, and placed in the infrequently used CD player in our kitchen a wonderful thing started. This would prove to be the best tool for introduction of scientific concepts to my kids in a way that is not only enormously entertaining, but also highly memorable. After listening to the entire album while I washed dishes and cleaned up dinner, or breakfast, possibly lunch, I bought the music into the kids. This album also came with a DVD of animated music videos, which I put on to explore with the rest of my family. The video is relatively short, about 45 minutes, give or take. Short enough to watch the entire thing about 4 times in an afternoon. In the months we have had it, the disc has not left the dvd/blu-ray player, for anything more than a couple hours.
It’s great when kids love something good, better when that something isn’t mindless. Awesome when it leads to some serious questions about the world, the universe, and ourselves. Questions like how the color spectrum has its colors and they are always in the same order. Can the sun catch us on fire? What is plasma? Can girls be paleontologists? Are we really made of elements?
We each have our favorite songs on this album. Mine is Meet the Elements and my wife’s is Why Does the Sun Shine? And its response Why Does the Sun Really Shine? An excellent example of one scientific theory being replaced by another, or if not replace, at least modified slightly. My son loves I Am a Paleontologist, he will sing this to himself repeatedly, skipping the words he can’t quite pronounce. My daughter loves Roy G Biv, a song that describes the visible spectrum of light, and rainbows.
I’d love to see this become standard issue in every elementary classroom. I should warn parents of curious children. This will not satiate the natural curiosity it will increase it. One song, Put It to the Test, outlines the scientific method in a way that encourages challenging anything, and everything. This song has spurred a destructive amount of experimentation in my household. Fortunately, we were planning to paint the kitchen anyway. Unfortunately, Iron Man is subject to the laws of gravity, and he will likely never walk again due to the loss of his leg on impact. If you dare expand the minds of your children, and can cope with the possibility that they will start asking questions, challenging you, and thinking about the world in new and beautiful ways, buy your children this album. You might want to first set some rules about fire, and dropping things from high places, and anything that might “explode”.