Halle’s math lessons have lately involved her gaining an understanding of weights and measurement. So far, all of her assignments have just asked about pictures and number problems; to complete them we have needed only a pencil. No extra supplies have ever been mentioned so I was not expecting the assignment today to require the use of a real balance. And one can chalk it up to poor planning on my part or a limited home-schooling budget (both are factors here), but for many reasons, there is a lack of balancing instruments in the home that would be suitable for Halle’s school exercises today.
I was ready to just help Halle guess which item/items might be ‘heavier than’, ‘lighter than’, or ‘as heavy as’ and call it a day. But Halle had the great idea to actually make a balance! Quite ambitious she is and she had some great thoughts on how to create such a device. We were in the process of punching holes into some plastic trays so we could attach string to them and tie them to a hanger when Rob came out from working (his new job has him office-ing at home when he is not out on a construction site). His comments were quite contrary to what I would hope from a supportive dad. It would be encouraging to hear him offer up praise like, ‘oh my, how cool is that!’ and ‘what a great idea!’ But no… this engineer/construction-minded brute came out and questioned the accuracy of our scale; asking the whereabouts of a fulcrum and throwing out terms like equilibrium and proper weight distribution. What? I don’t think your opinions were called on. Sir, please just go back to the office/bedroom whence you came and leave us be. It is not like NASA will be calibrating our instrument for precision or anything. And besides we were perfectly content with our little make-shift balance using a hanger, plastic lids, and some string. Also the elliptical trainer that has sat untouched in our dining room since the day we borrowed it (many months ago) served as the perfect place to hang our balance and conduct all our experiments. This worked great for our weight comparisons of keys, rulers, pencils, toy cars, and coins.