Friday, March 20, 2009
Yesterday, I was talking with my class about physical and chemical changes in matter. A physical change is anything that happens to the appearence, shape, and size of matter, where as a chemical change makes the matter something different. To demonstrate this, I give the kids a piece of paper and tell them to make it something other than paper. Then we burn a piece of paper and ask them which one was physical and which one was chemical.
This has always been a great demonstration, but yesterday was different. One of my kids decided that he was going to eat the paper to make it change. This kid chews on paper all the time, so I didn't think about it being a bad thing and was monitoring the class. About a minute into the experiment, I turned around and noticed this kid leaning over my desk gasping for breath. Realizing what was happening, I ran to him and smacked him on the back a couple times. This didn't work and he kept gasping for breath. I grabbed him by the arm and we started walking to the nurse. You could here the air trying to pass through to his lungs, feel his body trying to get rid of the blockage...it was kind of scary.
On the way to the nurse, he fell on all fours and couldn't get up. When he fell, I knelt down and brought my hand down twice on his back, harder than I had in the classroom. The wad of paper, about as wide as my thumb, came shooting out of his mouth and he began coughing. He sucked in air and just knelt there for a bit...the nurse came out, thinking he was throwing up, and when I told her he had just choked on paper, she shook her head, not realizing how serious the situation had been.
So....I feel like a hero. This kid will probably never know how close he was to having something terrible happen, but for the moment I'm going to let this experience get me through the day. (BOY SCOUTS ROCK!!!)