Saturday, December 20, 2014

Craze over All Things Prehistoric

This post is way overdue.

My 10 year old spent nearly 18 months obsessed over all things prehistoric.... since early 2013.

It was the beginning of Primary 3 when he attended Ethan A's party. Instead of the usual (junk) bag of candy, all kids were given a book to thank them for attending the celebrations.

My boys already have a bunch of books from this series at home, but after M read the one that his classmate gave, it rekindled his interest in all things prehistoric, specifically anything related to trilobites.

Very soon, M was hungry for more knowledge on the topic. He started reading up on the Internet and E gave him these books as one of his Christmas presents.

He buried his face in them the moment they were unwrapped and for a few weeks, he was always seen with them. I browsed them and like I mentioned to M again last night, they were sleep inducing to me (a comment which I know always made M smile).

The sheer amount of knowledge he amassed about all things prehistoric just through his reading was really eye-opening to me. He could talk for hours on this topic, but unfortunately, after a while, I got lost listening. He did inspire his classmates though and for months, he spent hours in school educating his friends on the topic. I only found out when parents of his classmates commended him on his knowledge and shared how their kids were inspired by him and some even became an avid reader of the same materials. Naturally, we were very pleased that he was so willing to share and encouraged him to continue. The sharing process will help clarify his own understanding and is also a great way to hone his presentation skill.

Over the period of 18 months, M started a mini collection of his own. Most were given to him as either Christmas or birthday presents. One of them was a reward that E promised him for the achievements at the Destination Imagination Global Final and the Odyssey of the Minds World Final this year. I must admit if E had discussed with me prior to making such promise, I would have dissuaded him from it. His experience at the competitions and the medals, trophies and certificates he received are more than enough rewards.

M's favourite is the one on the right (in the first photo) known as Crotalocephalus. He likes it because it sticks out of the matrix (which is the rock that the fossil is embedded in) so it is more 3-dimensional.

While I question the need to even own a trilobite, I recognise that it is often not about the need, but just a burning desire that stemmed out of passion for the topic. The dad is as usual, very indulging and supportive, so it would be an uphill battle to oppose too fervently.

Instead of just endless buying, E started a little project with M to create the trilobites in plaster and jumping clay. These (in the next two photos) are all rather good, especially when compared to the authentic ones.

Father and son devoted countless hours shopping for the materials and tools and researching the trilobites that M liked to replicate. The boy then toiled over his creations for weeks, starting with careful carving and completing them with a paint finish. It was a labour of love no less, and throughout the process, his perfectionistic nature was evident to all.

All kudos must go to the daddy who is always so indulgent and supportive of the kids' interests. This marked the beginning of many more meaningful projects that involve both father and son(s).

All in all, M was obsessed with all things prehistoric till this June, until something else caught his interest. That, I shall write in details in another post.


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