No time to stand and stare

A COUPLE of years ago I was teaching a Year 7 class about reaction times, and the distance it takes a car to stop in an emergency. During the discussion I realised that few of them even knew what the speed limit was in town!

Until this week, I didn't think that low point of general awareness would ever be trumped - but it has been.

I took my Year 8 middle-ability class out to do a plant survey around our edge-of-town school. Things were going well - they recognised grass, daisies and dandelions.

Then I asked what the fuzzy white things were. I asked several groups if they could identify them, but got much shaking-of-heads. Someone said you blew it to see if someone loved you, but they didn't know what it was.

You could have knocked me down with a dock leaf! It was, of course, a dandelion seed head - yet at least half of the class didn't know that. They had never noticed.

Is this the result of the demise of "nature study"? Is it the fault of a curriculum so packed that we rattle through it without pause for reflection? Is it the fault of our materialistic, mobile phone society? Is this lack of awareness something new?

Mind you, if the class could see me struggling with my mobile, I guess they'd throw their hands up in dismay at the "ignorant" older generation!

Martin Scotchmer

Carpenter's Cottage


Hinton St George


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