In my geology class, I write ENTROPY on the board. We speak about great forces causing the not to be expected consolidation of elements. Gravity taking iron and nickel to the core. Intense heat leading to fractional melting and thus creating silicon rich granite. Life's energy taking it's high share of phosphorous. Volcanism releasing carbon into the system so it can be consolidated in limestone.
But first we talk order vs chaos. My classroom leans toward the land of disorder. I start talking about the amount of energy it takes for it to be as neat as it is, but pause. Then give credit where credit is due. Sitting in the background keeping data on my students is The Mighty Assistant (blogs need characters), who battles entropy and the chaos that I have a hard time slowing down.
She came in having to fill some mighty big shoes left by my previous assistant, and said something like, "I know nothing about growing plants. I kill them all."
I say, "We do a lot in the kitchen too."
She says, "I don't know much about that either."
I don't think I was impressed by her resume. But her honesty was in fine shape.
She saw I needed help fighting entropy and has become a force in consolidating materials in my classroom just as gravity, heat, life and volcanism do it for the planet. She has gotten her hands dirty (in soil and bread dough) and leaped into working with the plants and students.
And let it be known that the Phillies ended the drought of championships we had experienced in Philadelphia by her idea of making "Lucky Phillies" bouquets on the day they won the world series. On that day all else stopped and we sent students out to cut zinnias, mums, cosmos, dahlias, snapdragons..... And then the students delivered arrangements to loyal fans around campus. No training in horticulture could have led to such a wonderful idea, fun day, and world championship. This summer she took on the project of collecting strawflowers and thought of a cool idea then in her compassionate ways, she made one for me to take home to my wife.