Friday Sprog Blogging: scientific controversy at the breakfast table

Jan 20 2006 Published by under Kids and science

(Based on actual events.)
Younger offspring (age 4.5): (singing softly to self while arranging a line of nine grapes on breakfast plate) Nine planets, fine planets, in our solar system. Nine planets, fine planets, go ahead and list 'em ... *
Elder offspring (age 6.5): You know, in school we learned that they discovered a tenth planet. They used to call it planet X, but now they're callin' it Xena.
Younger offspring: (glowering at sibling and singing louder) NINE planets! FINE planets! In our sol-ar SYStem! NINE planets! FINE planets! Go ahead and LISTthem!
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: (from the next room) Didn't they decide Pluto is too small to be a real planet?
Dr. Free-Ride: Pluto is too a planet! It was a planet when I learned it in school, and it hasn't gotten any smaller since then!
Younger offspring: Pluto is a planet. It's in the song.
Elder offspring: Xena's a planet, too.
Younger offspring: (glower set at full strength) Xena isn't in the song.
Dr. Free-Ride: I think that song was written before they discovered Xena. (To the next room) And Pluto is definitely a planet!
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: Your education is becoming obsolete. Remember the brontosaurus?
Dr. Free-Ride: Shut up! (To younger offspring) Eat your planets.
*The lyrics to the song were very similar -- but not identical -- to those of Nine Fine Planets by John Paul Taylor, Jr. If any of my readers is familiar with this variant -- and can hook me up with the full lyrics -- I'd be much obliged!

Comments are off for this post

  • Ian B Gibson says:

    Pluto is so not a planet! But the moon is a planet - part of the Earth-Moon double planet system. So there are still nine planets when you go ahead and list them. And you can quote me on that.

  • Super Sally says:

    Glad this interaction is at YOUR house. Tell the offspring to be prepared for full discussion this summer--and I'll do some research in the meantime to prepare myself. (How many of the planet/grapes got eaten before being squashed?)
    While there are many "facts" from our education that should later be "refreshed" as we move through life in light of further research, having learned any body of knowledge is useful. The most important use is that we ourselves have learned how WE learn (often differently than the person at the next desk).
    Once we know how to learn, it is not to hard to "refresh" the facts later, as long as the subject is still of interest to us, and as long as we are open to refreshing the information. It is when we pig-headedly defend the old learning without examing new research that we fail ourselves and society and dishonor our education.

  • Hey look, my mom commented on my blog!

  • JM says:

    Your mom is waaaaay smarter than my mom.

  • Uncle Fishy says:

    Smarter than my mom too?

  • First off, from what I can tell JM's mom is good people and not intellectually lacking at all.
    That said, given that Uncle Fishy's mom is Dr. Free-Ride's mom, I think it's logically impossible for Dr. Free-Ride's mom to be smarter than Uncle Fishy's mom.
    But maybe Greta and Dave at Cognitive Daily know of a way this could be true ...
    (Note to self: Sprog Blogging is more likely to get my relatives to comment than anything else I might contribute on science or ethics.)

  • Leah says:

    that's pretty cute. Think: they're getting debate pratice early.

  • Geardaddy says:

    Pluto too small to be a planet? Size, as they say, doesn't
    matter. In my opinion the litmus test for planethood should
    be whether or not it makes you think of alien invaders.
    Obviously this will vary from person to person. My personal list.
    Pluto: Planet
    Venus: Planeter
    Mars: Planetest
    Earth: May or may not be a planet, depending on my
    current level of paranoia.
    Ceres: Not a planet. Sounds like it should be in Nebraska.
    Neptune: Not a planet. I always think of the one in New Jersey.
    Uranus: Not going there...

  • coturnix says:

    Who says that size doesn't matter?

  • outeast says:

    It doesn't, Coturnix - it's the stripes that do...

  • coturnix says:

    You must have wandered over here from Pharyngula....

  • GRAND Aunt Molly says:

    Janet - Just want you to know Uncle Bunker's comment.....
    See, that's why ALL those years I got up, showered, dressed, ate breakfast, and left for work before anyone else in the house was awake!

  • aussie says:

    The so-called "10th Planet" is larger than Pluto. It's also twice as far from the Sun. It's like it wants to be a planet but the real planets won't let it.

  • Uncle Peter says:

    Uncle Peter asks:
    . . . nutritional question . . . do planets that are grapes have more or less antioxidants than grapes that aren't planets?
    Relations come out of the woodwork to comment on the Sprog Blogs.
    [If being a planet is a matter of size, and if we can assume a constant relationship between volume and amount of antioxidants, I'm guessing the grapes that are planets have more. But, I'm neither an astronomer nor a nutritionist.]

  • Rob says:

    My sister's a nanny. Her four-year-old charge was excited about planet Xena because she disliked the planet song so much, and thought maybe now she'd never have to sing it.

  • interested searcher says:

    I have been searching for that specific song for a while now. My parents had a record of learning music when I was young and that song is stuck in my head. for a few years now! Anyone know what it is yet?
    something like this:
    nine planets, fine planets, in our solar system.
    nine planets, fine planets, see if we can list them.
    first there's Mercury, closest to the Sun.
    and so on...

  • BRC says:

    Oh, I need to start paying more attention (since, as you saw, we're on the same pattern here). But how can we keep up with all this new old new knowledge?