Friday, November 23, 2012
The Hatchling doesn't really understand Newton's third law of motion - the one about "for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction". It hadn't occurred to me that kids actually have to learn this kind of thing, but I guess they do.
I'd been pushing her up and down the driveway on her little toy tractor. She can scoot herself along pretty well, Flintstone style, using her feet. But clearly it's much faster, less effort, and more fun to get me to push her. She would lean back as I pushed her in the small of the back, putting her feet up beside her hands on her steering wheel, and saying, "a-whee!"
It's all good fun, but I'm not as fit as I used to be when I was young, so after half a dozen times I got a bit puffed out and bent over so I told her that I need a rest and she can do it by herself. She pushed herself along for a metre or two, but then had a brainwave! She put her feet up on the steering wheel again, put one hand behind her back where my my hand had been, and gave herself a good push. All to no avail. She was most perplexed. And the upshot of it all was that I had to do another half a dozen runs up and down the driveway.
I downloaded a copy of Newton's Principia Mathematica and read it to her that night at bedtime. She fell asleep pretty quickly but I think she got the general gist of it.