Thursday, September 27, 2012

Echoes of explanations past...

Not a rant today but just an admiring note.

I have written a bunch now and again about my son doing or saying clever things but my daughter tends to be less interested, so it is with suprise and delight that I report our conversation on echoes.

I do not know if you have come accross it but there is an urban myth that duck quacks do not echo.

I can positively identify it as an urban myth as I have heard duck quacks echo. Because of that my answer to "why don't ducks echo" is simply "they do". It is true, but there is more to truth than that.

I was walking Talitha and Theo to school the other day when we went under the rail bridge. There is not much of an echo there but there was enough that cries of "ECHO!" could soon be heard.

Now, as you might expect we (Theo and I) had a discussion about why echoes happen long ago so normally I just ignore the yells but today I decided to bring the urban myth up and see what they made of it. "People say duck quacks don't echo." I said. "Why do you think that is?"

My daughter looked up at me and said "There is nothing behind them". "sorry?" I said. "There is nothing behind the ducks to bounce on" she said gesturing a wave going out and bouncing back. I was a bit taken aback as I was not sure I had ever explained echoes while she was paying attention but it seemed a good answer to me. Just as good as mine at least.

So there you have it, why don't ducks echo?

 Well my three year old scientist says there is nothing for the sound to bounce off behind them. A good explanation creates understandng that give me such sweet moments. Now I just need to find out whether it was me or Theo who told her how echoes work.

I admire my daughter.

To see how this and the other things I mention are explained have a look at But Why? to see my new eBook as tested on kids in cruel experiments with ducks and bridges...