Monday, January 11, 2010

Newton and Noodles

Every homeschooler knows that teaching one's child affords innumerable opportunities for varying degrees of joy, suffering, anger and irritation, or humor.

Thankfully the most memorable for me are the funny moments. The agonizing moments we usually blame on the curriculum (Saxon for instance).

Today Rose and I were discussing Newton's third law of physics. We have spent a long time on the first two laws working through the accompanying equations and how to think about them in real-life terms. If, for instance, we want to push a big rock at a constant rate of speed, we need to consider the forces that are acting against us (not the least of which are our math skills) in order to figure out how much pressure we must exert upon the rock.

So the book assured us that the third law was the easiest to think about because we see it more obviously in our lives: like in jumping on a trampoline or hitting a tennis ball.

However, when I began to walk Rose through the meaning of "every action has an equal and opposite reaction," she decided to get silly and smack me across the head. Knowing what she was doing, I returned the smack.

"See?" I said, "every action has an equal and opposite reaction! You hit me so I hit you."

"No," she said coyly, "The opposite of hitting is not hitting. If it was an opposite reaction, you wouldn't have hit me back!"

We've been snickering about this all day.