I threw together a hasty lesson this morning, what with my parking lot duty imminent, the disruption of three snow days in a row, and no time to run off copies on a working copier. The name of this lesson was: Waking the Baby Mammoth.
Thank you, NatGeo, for your inclusion on my mother's cable service. And thank you, Mom, for living in the past and using videotapes over and over for the last 20 years. And thank ME, for hoarding junk in my school cabinets. Kind of like the way Mabel hoards scissors and glue, and offers them to teachers with less of a budget than she, just before uttering the kicker, "They'll be right here in my cabinet, LOCKED UP!!!"
Yes, I dashed into my classroom, fortunate to have a working key, and set about flipping on the laptop, changing the thermostat, writing the new date on the board, and putting away some detritus from the top of my microwave due to the Great Textbook Handout on Monday. And there it was, in all its glory, Waking the Baby Mammoth. I spied it in the middle of a stack of videos that I don't use regularly. And since we just read a Science World article on the excavation of Sue, the biggest T Rex ever found, I saw the need for my students to observe the study of Lyuba, the most complete baby mammoth ever found. It beat the heck out of starting a chapter on conversion of temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit. Ninety out of ninety students agreed.
After that well-thought-out decision, which took all of five minutes, and some hasty juggling of yellow and white connector dealybobbers from DVD player to VCR, I proceeded to the parking lot. Where nothing eventful happened.
In setting up my lesson for the class, I had to be careful to explain that we were not really going to wake up the baby mammoth. It is 40,000 years old. No reviving there. Not even with a hair dryer and a defibrillator. That's because last time I showed it, one kid said, "You mean we watched that whole thing, and they never did wake her up?"
Today, there were different issues. One student thought the baby mammoth's name was Lump. "That's what it sounded like. And look at her. She just lays there. Like a lump."
Others gasped at the animated parts. Animated to look like real mammoths, not animated like a cartoon. "I want one of those! It's so cute!"
Another said, "That's fake." Um. Yes. There are no woolly mammoths alive now. And there were most certainly no video cameras 40,000 years ago.
One lass took a look at the Siberian Nenets' tent where the reindeer herder whose sons discovered Lyuba lived, and said, "Don't they ever take a shower?" Well, do you see a shower in the tent? Because all I see is a tent. With one window. And no rooms. And certainly no shower. Upon digesting this fact, she said, "But they have to. They have a kid." Well. I don't know where she was going with that, but the gist of it was that they had to be civilized with showers, because you can't have a baby without a hospital. OK. To be fair, that child has missed about thirty days of school so far this year. So maybe her synapses fire in a different way, based on all the sections of learning she has missed.
Still another lad asked why Lyuba looked stiff as a board as they were handling her. Thank the Gummi Mary, another kid told him, "Because she's FROZEN! Duh!"
All in all, it was an enjoyable return to the old grindstone.
Another storm is heading this way Sunday night.