Curious Kids and the Noisy Lunchroom

By: Mr. Wilson on May 27, 2010
The Lincoln Children's Museum's newest exhibit encourages kids to learn about sound. I'm sure Robbie will have no troubles being noisy. It's a boy's specialty. I remember a significant event in my life that taught me about sound. It also got my name put on the chalkboard at school. I was in third grade at Calvert. It was lunchtime, and recently we had learned about sound in class. As we sat in the gym-slash-lunchroom -- this was prior to the big remodel -- we discovered that the metal lunch tables made great testing grounds for learning about sound. Tapping and banging and experimenting commenced. We were in our own little world, my friends and me. We had no idea how much of a ruckus we were causing. Apparently plenty of other people were loud and crazy that day in the lunchroom, too. The principal was furious, and he let us know it. (I feel awful, I can't remember if Mr. Hobbs or Dr. Rutledge was at Calvert at that time. Even though I clearly remember an angry authority figure yelling at a lunchroom full of kids, I can't remember which authority figure it was. Stupid memory and its crazy tricks.) The principal had written a handful of names on the board in the lunchroom. The names represented the noisiest of the noisy. The people on that list were to tell their teachers, after lunch, that they had been busted. My name was on the list. I was crushed. I never got my name on the board! I had let so many people down. I was the good one! Didn't they know that we were learning? We weren't being naughty, we were being scholarly! We were conducting science! But no. Our explanations went unappreciated. My day was ruined. Believe it or not, having my name put on the board that day didn't ruin my academic career. In fact, that was the only time I ever got my name put on the board. It was the one black mark on my record. The experience was educational for me. I learned that the sounds we generate may be louder and more obnoxious than they appear. That's not a bad lesson to learn on its own, but there's more. I also learned that sometimes, as a parent, I need to take an extra second or two to try to understand why my son is being an obnoxious little hooligan. Maybe he's being naughty. But maybe -- just maybe -- he's learning about the propagation of sound waves through various media, or something equally admirable. If getting my name on the board helps me better appreciate my son's curiosity, I'd say it was worth it.


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