April 22 — SPRING
On Sunday April 22nd, while the main Assembly were learning the multiple, life-enhancing – life-saving even – values of a bracing walk in the countryside, we were subverting their intents by inventing distractions. We ended up with 18 games to play, anyone of which will successfully disrupt the best laid plans.
The value to the spirit of Assemblism is that we discovered the enormous power of cooperative creativity – working together on a project and seeing the wonders that emerge.
For the benefit of all, we publish them now on the Young Assembly section of the website:
Somewhere friendly, fun and safe for the kids while you enjoy the senior Assembly, Young Assembly is run by Richard Robinson, director of the Science Festival, and Vicky Fenlon, a teacher.
We do stuff linked to the theme, which this month is ‘Spring’, and how to get out into it, and enjoy it. Once upon a time somebody thought of using a stick to whack a ball as he was strolling around the countryside. Soon after that, the stick-ball-whacking became more important than the walk, and golf was invented.
We may not get that far, but we’ll work together to create a few new ones, and dig up a few old ones, good for gardens, beach and park as well as the rolling downs.
For instance, you will learn how to become a champio
n pebble balancer (see below), with just pinch of sand
… and of course, there’ll be a magic trick.
For March 25 Assembly, the theme was ‘Near and Far’, with tales from the slums of Rio to the Australian outback, via Brighton.
Over in the Young Assembly, Richard began by showing on a map of the World how humankind spread around the globe really quickly, from our first steps out of Africa 100,000 years ago to the tip of South America 90,000 years later, showing how we are all one big happy family (genetically speaking). Vicky followed on with amazing puzzle pictures of the languages, food and schools of other lands from around the world, much of it correctly identified by our young group, although a lot of it is surprisingly like our own (the school children in Papua, New Guinea for instance, below).
We rounded off with two tricks:
1) How to get the most out of your pocket money – On the first day of a month go up to whoever gives out the pocket money and say ‘I don’t want to keep depending on you for money. After this month you need never give me a penny more. Just give me a penny on the first day of the month, 2p on the second, 4p on the third, etc, doubling the number of pennies each day’. They will of course agree. Then get them to sign an agreement. This is important, because when they work out that they’ll be handing over £22,000,000 they may want to withdraw. Promise; try it out on a calculator.
2) We shrank one of the dads into a shopping bag, following the theme of ‘Near and Far’ (below the below)
on April 22 we’ll be at it again. The Theme is ‘Spring’
Young Assembly is for young people, 7+ years old, (or younger if accompanied by an adult). We meet at the same time and place as the main Assembly, leaving just after the first song and rejoining just before the end.
SUNDAY 25 February – SENSES – REPORT
Last month Young Assembly did the senses. Turns out there are quite a lot of them – seventeen or more.
We can start with the traditional five: hearing, sight, taste, smell, touch. But touch can be sub-divided into:
pressure, temperature, pain and itch,
so we’re up to eight.
Then there are the inward-facing ones:
hunger and thirst, bowels and bladder, proprioception (knowing where your limbs are), balance, direction, stretch (found in lungs, stomach, bladder, etc), chemoreceptors (awareness of CO2 levels, and other chemical imbalances).
On top of those is what we might call the ‘sixth sense’ though it’s not as spooky as it sounds, it is our awareness of the state of mind of others, which we understand by their body language, the nuances of their voice, and their pheromones, or chemical signals which they emit and we pick up with our nose.
WOW! We then asked which was the most important, and then what would be our super-power.
Up came “X-ray vision”. Nice one! Did you know that dolphins already have that? They use echoes to find their way about, and the sounds they send out bounce off the objects they meet – say a wall – and detect vibrations from the objects on the other side, so the return echo includes this information.
“What about being able to see in the dark?” Useful indeed, as pit vipers can tell you. They can see infra-red, which means they detect the heat give off by other animals. Even in the pitch dark they can find mice, voles, and other snacks.
That was all we had time for, before we went back to the church and showed them a magic trick about proprioception.
The March programme will be up soon.
How many senses do you have? Are you sure? Are your senses the same as mine? Do we see the same colours? Hear the same sounds? Do we feel the same pain? On Feb 25th we’ll learn some magic tricks that fool the senses, and maybe test them out on the assemblists in the church. (But don’t tell them).
Well done everyone for joining in the games and chats on the 28th of January. Friendship is an important issue for young people. We all have memories of losing old friends or finding new friends, and the emotional power of the experience.
We learned about mirror neurons – the way we are psychologically linked to each other, so that, in a way, we are ‘friends’ even if we don’t think so.
If you love coming to Sunday Assembly – but your kids aren’t so keen – we now have a solution…
Science Festival Organiser Richard Robinson plans to take some of the children over to the Sweet Dukebox theatre, right across the road during the talks, and keep them amused: teach them a game or two, share some magic tricks and have a discussion about something Sunday Assembly-ish.
And since our theme for January is ‘Outsiders’, we can talk about friends, and what it’s like to lose a friend, or to make one. For older kids, the role of social media in secondary school will be an interesting talking point.
Please let us know if you are interested so we can make plans.
You can email Richard on firstname.lastname@example.org