My son has just entered Grade 1, and guess which words were on the list of ten words he would be tested on this week – condensation, evaporation and precipitation.
Sure, they are words that he has been hearing all month. ‘Condensation’ and ‘evaporation’ are concepts that have been driven into him through simple experiments, and by working on the water cycle-
If I had a say, I would rather my son have grasped the concept of condensation and evaporation with the words being reserved for a later class. But I know I am in a minority – most people (and schools) seem to believe that labelling things is a lot more important than understanding them.
Condensation and evaporation I am willing to live with. But precipitation?
I am quite sure I did not encounter that word before High School, and before teaching my son to spell the word out, I had to check the spelling myself. Why on earth should a child of five or six be taught the word precipitation when rain or snow would serve just as well?
But there is an unwitting fallout of it- I achieved geek status since my son refers to rain as precipitation even in normal conversation.