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Grade School Essays

The beguiling ideas about science quoted here were gleaned from fifth and sixth graders’ essays, exams and classroom discussions:

  • “You can listen to thunder after lightning and tell how close you came to getting hit. If you don’t hear it you got hit, so never mind.”
  • “When planets go around and around in circles we say they are orbiting. When people do it we say they are crazy.”
  • “A vibration is a motion that cannot make up its mind which way to go.”
  • “Genetics explain why you look like your father and if you don’t why you should.”
  • “Vacuums are nothings. We only mention them to let them know we know they’re here.”
  • “We say the cause of perfume disappearing is evaporation. Evaporation gets blamed for many things people forget to put the top on.”
  • “I am not sure how clouds get formed. But the clouds know how to do it and that is the important thing.”
  • “Isotherms and isobars are even more important than their names sound.”
  • “Question: In what ways are we dependent upon the sun?
  • Answer: We can always depend on the sun for sunburns and tidal waves.”

Harold Dunn in Boston Globe.