Xeni Jardin at 12:38 pm Thu, Feb 3, 2011
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26 month-old Rose of Seattle, Washington plays a game with those lovely Periodic Table of Elements cards previously featured on Boing Boing. What a smart and adorable kid! And what great parents she has.
Video Link, found via Chris Hardwick's blog.
Wait? You’ve thought a toddler to read by reciting elements? Brilliant! (And super cute kid).
When I was 2 we played with pale colored squares with enigmatic two-letter abbreviations and we LIKED IT!
I agree with RMac and jphilby but I must add that this reminds me of IAHP educational practices and while children love to do their cards (which is why I can’t agree with Anon) they generally don’t have as much fun being tested. I imagine it’s because they go through the cards much more slowly than they usually do (for the benefit of the camera). I also don’t like what Anon said about keeping the girl as “normal as possible” which I suppose is meant to imply that learning your elements at a young age is abnormal. I disagree, I think if they can do it, and IAHP has proven that children can, then they should. She may not be average, but I don’t see that as sufficient reason to keep her from learning different languages at a young age. I like the suggestions that jphilby made, it seems good to switch it up so the child doesn’t JUST associate those elements with a picture on a card. I also like what RMac said about emphasizing critical thinking although I imagine the bulk of that is meant to be taught when they’re at an age more ready for it like 4, 5, or 6 instead of 1, 2, or 3.
No way, I know that little girl! Rosabelle! Awesome.
Actually there are some even more amazing people doing even more amazing things. Children learning at amazing stuff at astonishing pace wasn’t unknown before. There was korean kid who learned 4 langauges, calculus at age of 4.
But what’s really astonishing is an adult who can do superhuman mental feat without any kind of enhancement, see here:
take her outside for a walk
“take her outside for a walk”
Walking the street is a much better skill for a girl than reading.
It’s true, young children have great memories and can learn the names of lots of things, both everyday objects and more specialized “collections” – think about kids who learn all the names of dinosaurs, can recognize them, etc. But at least when kids learn about dinosaurs, they know they are animals, and see pictures of them in realistic contexts. I would submit that Rose hasn’t learned the periodic table of elements at all – she has learned a set of associations between two-letter signs and mostly-esoteric words. She seems to have enjoyed learning this, and was probably taught it in a fun way. But if she doesn’t know what an element is, or why somebody decided to put them into a table, what does she really know? It would be better, in my opinion, to extract just the cards that correspond to substances that she can experience in the real world, and give her a chance to handle gold, tin, silver, salt (yes, this would take two cards), etc., so that she has a chance to do more than recite meaningless associations to please a parent (which, I’m afraid, has nothing to do with learning science).
Also, for those folks who are worried whether their kids are “dumb” or “behind” – kids develop at different rates, girls are verbal earlier than boys, and as long as you provide your kids with lots of verbal interaction and a rich, interesting environment, they will be fine (obviously, if they aren’t responding to this environment, get them checked out for deafness or other kinds of problems…)
– from someone with a higher degree in Science and Mathematics Education from UC Berkeley
Hugh Aldersey-Williams book PERIODIC TALES is just out from Viking Penguin and is his cultural guide to the chemical elements. From the arsenic in Flaubert to the zinc bars of Paris, and from the steel in The Angel of the North to the neon lights of Lolita, it’s the story of how we all know the elements without ever going into a chemistry lab. It was BBC Radio 4â€™s ‘Book of the Week’, at 9.45 every morning this past week, 31 January-4 February. Fasinating! He mentioned my jewellery work in anodised niobium and I provided an image for the book, a brooch in the metal/elements, titanium and niobium.
or for the ebook:
It comes out in the US at the end of March. http://www.amazon.com/Periodic-Tales-Cultural-History-Elements/dp/0061824720/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1295882391&sr=8-1
Very cute, and I love that dad has spent so much time with her to help her memorize the elements. But I was a little sad when she excitedly pointed out the “Bubbles! lots of bubbles!” on the Nitrogen card, and got no response at all except prodding to name the element. It seems like it would have been a good opportunity to say, “yeah! all those bubbles are made of gas, and that gas is called nitrogen!”. When you acknowledge things kids are naturally interested in (like bubbles) and engage them in active learning, I think they develop the critical thinking and creativity that will benefit them more in the long run than passive learning through memorization. Plus, I think it might be more fun.
Thanks for the refresher course !
That’s amazing, really.
My son just turned 21 months old, he understands a -lot- of words (can follow basic and semi-complex commands) and he’s got a -bunch- of basic signs (eat, brush teeth, pee pee), but limited vocal vocabulary (mama, dada, roof, wall, belly button, ut oh, no, nipple, go, eat, ball). Doc says he’s doing just fine and even a bit ahead of the norm, but we ran into someone with a girl one day younger than him that was -talking- with whole sentences.
It’s a scary time – I just want him to start having conversations and it seems no amount of flash cards and reading is going to make that come any faster :). As a parent I can say I fear doing something wrong that delays his conversational ability!
Watching this shows me just how much cognitive growth can happen in the next five months. I can’t wait. Time to buy some periodic table flashcards :).
(parent of an eight year old here)
Before long your son will learn to google for videos. He doesn’t need to be able to read for that, just to type the title of a DVD letter for letter into google then follow the chain of linked videos on youtube.
One of the best things for our son’s development (especially in speech) was to get him out of the house to stay with people outside his immediate circle. Child care from 18 months, regular stays with his grandparents. It forces the kids to use language to get what they want, rather than being fed what you think they need.
My nephew learnt Cantonese from his grandmother because it was she only language she spoke and he was with her all day. Now he uses the parental controls on his mothers macbook to limit his mums computer time.
Kids develop their speaking skills at different rates. Some start experimenting with words quite early, while others wait longer, but often when they do start they speak complete sentences. Your son sounds like he’s very smart and just taking his time.
9:30 is a long, long time to focus on the elements.
i am impressed. rose, you are doing that so well, it almost scares me.
Nooooo! Don’t panic and don’t try to overcompensate. Those common picture flashcards don’t teach reading anyway. Kids memorize and recognize the shapes of the words, but they aren’t actually sounding them out. Do some Googling about early childhood development. Children hit different benchmarks at different times, and that’s NORMAL. Do people who started walking younger than most of us now walk better than most of us? Early talkers don’t have a bigger or more eloquent vocabulary as adults. Do the ones who got out of diapers early have accidents less often than the rest of us when they are adults? The same things apply to language, math skills, etc. Give your kid the gift of time instead of hard pushes. A smart kid will be smart wether you push hard or not. Parents are so friggin competitive and meddling nowadays and they and their kids get stuck thinking far into the future, trying to rush into adulthood. You only get to be a child for a few precious years. You have your whole adult life to compete, struggle, and worry.
“Kids memorize and recognize the shapes of the words, but they aren’t actually sounding them out.”
Adults also recognize the shapes of words. That’s why you can still read things when they are horribly mispelled.
I’m also fairly sure that all of China reads without sounding words out.
HA I still get gold and silver mixed up.
Children all learn different skills at different rates,apparently boys speech arrives more slowly than girls.I love to see children learning so quickly,but I worry for them later in life if they are too `different` bullying can becomes a problem.I hope the parents try to keep this lovely little girl as normal as possible whilst fostering her amazing skills,without pushing her in the educational system.My advice,let her go to Uni at the same age as her peers,NOT 3 or 4 years too early.Those teens will not be her peers and she won`t fit in.
@Anon: I love to see children learning so quickly, but I worry for them later in life if they are too `different` bullying can becomes a problem.
I was a total, massive nerd/geek/bookworm and did get bullied and ostracized. But despite the few hard years, I would never go back and change any of it. It gave back tenfold. With support from loved ones, a kid can learn that while loneliness is painful, it is sometimes necessary. People you have to pander to or for whom you must efface yourself to ‘fit in’ are harmful. You find true friends, and your true potential, when you don’t compromise.
School lasts for a few years (unless you’re unschooled :) ) but your own interests, drives and intelligence is what you carry- and what carries you- for the rest of your life.
I learned to read (though not as young as 2 years!) by staring at the cereal box in front of my while I was eating my Honeycombs – every once in a while, asking “What’s that word?”
I am not shocked that this 2 year-old is having a great time with the periodic table. Most little kids have fantastic memory, they are highly visual, they like to categorize stuff and they love a challenge. The periodic table is a perfect game! There is no difference between learning and playing to young kids. We get the notion that learning is boring and difficult, or that science is an alien and irrelevant topic to our daily lives, as we grow up.
One of my favorite games (and a fond childhood memory) as a little kid was learning world capitals with my grandmother. We’d look at the big globe and she would later ask me various countries’ capitals. To this day, I still remember some 60 or 70… Most importantly, we had a great time together.
This girl is getting the right message: Science is fascinating and FUN.
Wow… my kid is *dumb*
“It would be better, in my opinion, to extract just the cards that correspond to substances that she can experience in the real world, and give her a chance to handle gold, tin, silver, salt”
As an ex-teacher and home-schooling parent, gotta agree that it would be good to add that. (Remember that scene in Trading Places where Eddie Murphy learns about commodities?) ‘Concrete learning’ the pros call it. (A lot of us never get past that.) Involves the senses too.
No pressure for my future children…
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