The Science Master

Published on: Author: bette 5 Comments

My grandson Miles, age 7, spent a few days with us in Brookings last week while his brother and sister were away at “sleepover” camp.  Miles had a chance to experience some of the differences between life in the San Francisco Bay area and a tiny coastal town in southern Oregon.  We’re hoping that he had as much fun at “Camp Grandma and Grandpa” as the other kids did in the Santa Cruz mountains.


As we were driving up to Brookings, Miles told me that he had been thinking about a question for a long time and had never been able to find the answer. Here’s what he asked:

“How come when you pull your hair out it doesn’t bleed even though it’s inside your body?”

He was really curious, so when we stopped I drew the layers of skin and the hair follicles as best I could remember from teaching 4th grade a hundred years ago.  I made a guess about why hair doesn’t bleed, but it turned out that my “hypothesis” was wrong.  (The good news about that is that Miles might remember my mistake the next time the word “hypothesis” comes up.)


As we dove on I remembered an  Edublogs site I ran across a few weeks ago.  It’s called “The Science Master” and is run by a teacher in the UK.  He invites kids to ask questions and promises to answer each one.  As it turned out, not only did this teacher on the other side of the world answer Miles’ question, but he has now replied to a follow-up question that Miles and his friend Asher asked.

Miles (age 7) asks “How come when you pull your hair out it doesn’t bleed even though it’s inside your body?”


The reason I’m particularly excited to find this site is that it’s a great example of Core Competency #2:  “Use technology/internet to collaborate and publish.” 


I have intentionally stayed out of the controversy around the Common Core Standards, but when I decided to move forward with this book I knew I needed to find out about the Core Writing Standards. I started with this link:  ANCHOR STANDARDS for WRITING K-12

As I began clicking around on the rest of the CCS site, I quickly became overwhelmed and realized how grateful I am that I am not bound by the system anymore.  How I wish that they had stopped with the Anchor Standards and let creative teachers take over from there!  The 10 Anchor Standards on that page are simply what good teachers have always been doing ,,, with the exception of #6 which addresses using technologies which were unheard of when I left the classroom! (How do you use TWITTER to collaborate with peers??? YIKES!)

Chapter 4 of Learning to Write / Writing to Learn will explain why I have chosen to base the “10 Core Competencies” on the Common Core Writing Anchor Standards. The 10 Competencies are not “standards,” but are rather what we want kids to know and be able to do when they leave school.  HOW we go about getting them to that point will determine their success – and ours.  As we move through this time of profound change, my hope is that new approaches toward learning will become internalized enough so that teaching will once again become a joyful ART.


5 Responses to The Science Master Comments (RSS) Comments (RSS)

  1. Great idea! I love this as a reminder to help direct Luke toward another source rather than always trying to be the person (or his father) to answer his questions. Thanks!

    • Let me know if Luke asks a question. How old is he now? It would be really fun to connect him and Miles “on-line”! (Or maybe he’s closer to Mason’s age (12)? I could probably subscribe to it … haven’t checked yet. I think it’s a great idea and am going to use it in the book I’m working on…

      BTW …. Did you notice the change I made in the last 3 paragraphs about the Common Core? I asked Bill to read it and he made some “gentle” suggestions ;-)! He was really right … I just hadn’t done enough homework! I’d like to know what you think about what I said. I really do like the “Anchor Standards” – at least for Writing. I just haven’t looked at them for other subjects.

  2. How fascinating! 🙂 Great question. ..those trips up and back alone with Cian are times I always treasure! They are bonding moments. I will pass on The Science Master website to Randy!!!
    How did you find it? So sorry we couldn’t get the boys together! One year Cian and I were discussing the planets and Pluto and I was surprised about something Cian knew and he told me I had read it to him in a book about planets the year before!!! Ha! Life is made up of teachable moments. .. if only people would learn from them!!! 🙂

    • I found “The Science Master” through Edublogs – but I’m not exactly sure how. It was months ago and I sent the link to myself to check out when Miles was here. You’re so right about the teachable moments! I love being with the kids because I can start trying to see the world through their eyes!

    • Hi Nancy! After getting some feedback from Bill on my last paragraph, I completely re-wrote the section where I talk about the Common Core. What do you think?

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