A new science start

Today I worked on my lesson for the next week of online ethics classes. It’s about the ethics of superheroes. It covers the obvious questions of vigilantism (Batman) and whether normal humans should fear supers (X-Men), and some things such as whether heroes have a duty to protect people (Spider-Man), and who should pay for the damage a super-battle causes. It should be a fun class!

First thing in the morning though I photographed a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips. That took the whole morning, up until lunch, so I worked on the superheroes thing in the afternoon.

This evening I had my first one-on-one science lesson with the girl from one of my ethics classes. Her first question was how plastics are made – which she wanted to know about because she wanted to understand why plastics are so bad for the environment. I wanted to lay some good foundations, so I started by introducing atoms, which she’d heard of but didn’t know a lot about. That led to compounds and polymers and the chemical process of polymerisation. She asked a few questions and we explored the properties of various different polymers and the reason why they don’t break down in the environment.

That took about 2/3 of the time, and then we shifted gears as she asked how stars formed! Fortunately I know a lot about that, and it was also a good chance to reinforce the importance of atoms to understanding pretty much anything at the fundamental level. Throughout the class I drew diagrams on my iPad, in the shared window on Zoom so she could see it in real time, using Sidecar (that I discovered the other day). That worked really well. And after the class I bundled all the drawings I did into a PDF and uploaded it to Outschool for her to download.

It was a really good class, I thought, and she seemed to really enjoy it. So I’m hopeful to continue this course for some time.

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