I help a year seven science class
and today we did some practicals.
The one was a soldering iron;
just letting them explore
how metal turns to liquid
with the right amount of heat.
It’s quite a dangerous experiment
to let twelve-year-olds loose on,
but all they wanted to do
was burn down little blobs,
roll them across the board
and join them all together.
The result wasn’t very pretty –
just a mangled clump of silver,
but I wonder when I forgot
the childish joy of joining,
bringing bits together instead of
breaking them into bites.
They didn’t care that it wasn’t perfect,
only that it was one.
Now I remember that innovation
does not happen in isolation,
but by bringing together spare parts
left lying on the table.
It’s not about big thoughts
or really grand discoveries.
It’s about trusting the dangerous iron
to the child within us all
so she can see that solid metal
is just one state of matter.