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Today at work - Ice Cream Assassin

Mar. 10th, 2010

06:02 pm - Today at work

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I work at a local elementary school, tutoring kids from low income families through a government program that pays for their tutoring. The fourth graders are doing a biography project, where they research someone they admire and do a presentation where they dress up and act like the person. One of my kids is Wayne Gretsky, another is Albert Einstein.

Today I asked Einstein kid if he wanted to be a physicist when he grew up.

Einstein kid: Yeah! I want to be as smart as Einstein! I even searched for Einstein's brain on Amazon.com last night to see if I could buy it, but they didn't have it. Einstein was born in Germany and he made the plans for the first atomic bomb and then had to escape from the German government because they wanted to build the bomb and blow up the United States.

Wayne Gretsky kid: Why did they want to blow up the United States?

Me: This was during World War II, when Adolf Hitler was Germany's leader and the Nazis were in power.

Wayne Gretsky kid: Who's Adolf Hitler? Who are the Nazis?

So I ended up being a 4th-grader's first introduction to the concept of racial purification and Nazi Germany. If this state of historical knowledge is common, I wonder how enduring Godwin's Law will prove to be.

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:22seconds
Date:March 11th, 2010 02:31 am (UTC)
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The idea of a nine-year-old trying to buy Einstein's brain on Amazon is adorable.

Is it typical for a fourth grader not to know about Hitler and Nazi Germany?
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[User Picture]
From:leisurelyviking
Date:March 11th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
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I really don't know whether or not it's typical; it just seems like such a huge part of popular culture and common movie themes, etc. that it surprised me.
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