What to do
Clerihews (mostly about scientists)
George the Third
Ought never to have occurred.
One can only wonder
At so grotesque a blunder.
This is a clerihew. They are amusing "potted biographies" of people. They do not need to have a rhythm (a metre, if you are pedantic), but they
have a rhyme, and they
say something about the person involved who has to be historical.
Limericks have to have a perfect metre and astounding rhymes, here among the clerihews, the aim is to be
in an odd sort of way, and to get a weird rhyme. Here are two more examples:
Sir Christopher Wren
Said: "I am going to dine with some men.
If anybody calls,
Say I'm designing St Paul's."
Sir Humphry Davy
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium
Now it is time for you to try your hand. Here are some names to get started on. Most should be accessible to most people, and some are drawn from areas other than science, so feel free to pick and choose. They will all be found, somewhere on the Web.
Catherine the Great
Burke and Wills
Sir Francis Crick
Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Joseph Banks
The young Torricelli
Annie Jump Cannon
Kiri Te Kanawa
Claude van Damme
Dame Nellie Melba
Remember that you will need to investigate each of these people before you write your clerihew, and find out what they did, or do.
This will help you understand
You are to write some limericks, given a few lines to work with. In five lines, you will introduce somebody, explain where they are or what they are doing (second line), explain what happened to the person or thing in line three, what the reaction was in line four, and finish the whole thing off in line five. Read a few sample limericks to get the feel of it first.
Limericks have a special form. There are five lines, with lines 1, 2 and 5 rhyming, and lines 3 and 4 are rhyming. Good limericks use different words at the end of each line. They also need the right rhythm, or metre:
d'DAH-dah d'DAH-dah d'DAH (dah)
d'DAH-dah d'DAH-dah d'DAH (dah)
d'DAH-dah d'DAH-dah d'DAH
There WAS an old MAN from DarJEEling
Who TRAVelled from LONdon to EALing
It SAID on the DOOR
Please don't SPIT on the FLOOR
So he CAREfully SPAT on the CEILing
Notice how we can sneak in the odd syllable here and there.
Now you are ready to begin:
There was a young man from Palm Beach (reach, beseech, teach, leech, leach, peach, preach)
There was a young man from Dee Why
There was a young fellow called Smith (myth, pith, kith, with (?))
As the camels walked in,
As the rainforests fell
For the rest of his life
The Impressionist school
As his feet turned to lead
As the keyboard went green
It is actually better to have a good word play in mind for the fifth line, or a good idea about your third and fourth lines. Here are some lines 3 and 4:
Third and fourth lines
Though he feared they had germs,
He ate all the worms
His large flock of wrens
That he passed off as hens
They found the canary
Was rather too hairy
If the horse had a chance
It would normally dance
He said "Thanks very much,
But I cannot speak Dutch,
And made cider inside her inside. (an old one!!)
A Norse of a different colour
The people cried "Cafe au lait" (Olé)
(here is my attempt at this one)
Other ideas for limericks:
Dig into a textbook, and look through the index for some interesting words. Check out your library, and see if you can find a
-- it lists words by their rhymes.
This will help you understand
People seem mostly to be revolted at the idea of eating invertebrates, with a few special exceptions.
John the Baptist ate grass-hoppers and bee-vomit (see Mark 1: 6 for a more tasteful if less informative translation), and there are others.
Draw up a list of edible or potentially edible invertebrates, and see if you can get these rated on a YUC (Yummy/ Uncertain/ Can't face it) scale, by questioning a sample of people.
Among others, include spiders, cockroaches, snails, slugs, lobsters, prawns, oysters and ants. See if there are any clusters that form.
Examine your completed YUC scale, and see if you can work out what makes some invertebrates less acceptable than others. Is it appearance, how they behave, or something else?
Many hunter-gatherer societies seem to have less of a problem with invertebrate foods. Why?
This will help you extend yourself
Your day in court
You will need:
Pen, paper, several colleagues, computer to record your draft and scripts, reference sources to gather the facts.
What you are expected to do
This is your chance to let fly with a few forensic and dramatic skills. You are to organise a court case, based on the scenario below, sticking within the known scientific facts, presenting information in an interesting but controversial way, with a certain amount of hamming up, and with the rest of your class, the audience, acting as the jury in the matter.
As with all of these cases, there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer, nor is there a smoking gun or a guilty party. There may well be other parties who wish to seek leave to intervene, to present their views, but the witness list must be agreed to beforehand, and the basic pattern that is to unfold must be worked out and accepted by all sides before the performance starts. The main thing to remember is that this is more of a performance than a competition: try to avoid too many surprises for the other side.
Remember, too, that this detail is presented for you to use as a starting point. Feel free to vary the scenario, characters and format, by agreement, before you start.
The main thing about a performance like this is pre-planning and careful research. You will need to work out who the main witnesses are, and what information they are to convey, then this information needs to be carefully researched. What did A discover, who were the B people, what caused C, what exactly is the D effect, what are the defining characteristics of an E? Then once you have that worked out, you can develop the characters, the plot, the order of presentation, and you are almost ready to go.
Remember: you are trying to be informative as well as entertaining. And remember: you are trying to be entertaining as well as informative.
Remember your poor audience who will have to sit through this!
The spiders have decided to sue the insects over a breach of their copyrighted body form.
Several arachnids, assorted members of the insect class, a trilobite, and a knight in shining armour - you add the rest.
Format for the hearing:
a straightforward suit for damages.
centipedes and crustaceans, and a velvet worm (
). (That should be enough to keep you investigating for several hours :-)
This will help you plan
On the same topic, more or less, look at
, especially the cookbook challenge.