Friday, May 10, 2013

Why strawberries are sweet, and Lucy's poetry

It's a rich time for questions around our house.

Two days ago, Emile asked me why strawberries were sweet. Alas, he did not seem as interested in the answer a half hour later, once I had scoured the web for answers of substance.

To avoid that you, too, might lose the chance to teach your child some marvelous facts, I will share the answers I have found.

Answer one (anthropomorphism alert): so that more animals will eat them, and leave seeds where they drop, after digestion.

Answer two: Glucose helps create strong cell walls, which help retain water.

Answer three: Glucose is used to produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) the energy bearing molecule in life forms. Therefore, glucose is stored as starch for later use.

Please correct any fuzzy understanding on my part!

And then Lucy came into the room with a question that sent me into irretrievable word geekery, alas. She brought in this article from school:
"Monarchs Take Flight: As millions of monarch butterflies head south for the winter, a study reports that their numbers are dropping. What does this mean for the monarch’s future?"
Depressing, right? But the question she asked me was, "Mama, is this science?" Instead of getting the gist of her question, I went into a long explanation, which she did not understand, about how I consider it the result of science, though the science itself was in the observation and measurement. I gave her the first three definitions of this google entry on the word science:

noun /ˈsīəns/ 
sciences, plural
  1. The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment
    • - the world of science and technology
  2. A particular area of this
    • - veterinary science
    • - the agricultural sciences
  3. A systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject
    • - the science of criminology
  4. Knowledge of any kind

 Ten confused minutes later, she came back into the room, holding a multiple choice worksheet, asking, "So, Mama, if it isn't science, is it entertainment?" Oh. Oops.

I will end with some beat poetry from Lucy, about (I think) our cat named Yellow: