It’s easy to show and tell.
You can give any person a red dipping bird and have them place it in a position for all to see and begin telling about it. Not only will they show and tell about the red dipping bird, but they will do it perfectly.
“It is a red plastic bird that for some reason dips forward and puts its beak into a glass of water “emulates the movement” and dips back and continuous going back and forth. You can purchase them in all different sizes, colors and with goofy extras like flamboyantly colored feathers or an old Abe Lincoln hat.”
Done. They showed and told.
But there’s a flaw.
Everyone who’s seen one knows this. Everyone who owns one, probably laughed at the flamboyant feather color comment but still thought the presentation was dull. Everyone else who were shown and told to, they could get up and do the same exact thing.
Show and tell, which is ultimately done in k-5 grade levels, can set incredible examples and offer intelligent insight into creativity – if done right. There’s a often an overlooked variable to show and tell that can make the experiences result artistic, unique and altogether attention-informative (Information people actually want to pay attention to). Simply showing and telling doesn’t do this. Doing it the old school way is bland and banal.
The correct format is to figure out THEN show and tell.
Having to figure something out taps potential on the shoulder and tells it to get to work. In the case of the red dipping bird and according to How Stuff Works, The Dipping Bird (also called the Drinking Bird or the Dunking Bird) is a popular novelty item or toy in the United States and other countries.
A Dippy Bird has the following parts:
- Two equal-sized, hollow glass bulbs
- A long glass tube that connects the bulbs
- Fuzzy, water-absorbent material covering the head
- Two plastic legs with a pivot connection
- Methylene chloride in the abdomen. Methylene chloride is an industrial paint stripper and solvent (one thing that dissolves easily in methylene chloride is caffeine, so you can use methylene chloride to decaffeinate things). Methylene chloride helps makes a Dippy Bird work because it evaporates very easily — it boils at just 100 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).
To operate the Dippy Bird, you get its head wet. As the water evaporates, fluid moves up into the head, causing the bird to become top-heavy and dip forward. Once the bird dips forward, fluid moves back into the abdomen, causing the bird to become bottom-heavy and tip up.
Here is how a Dippy Bird works:
- When water evaporates from the fuzz on the Dippy Bird’s head, the head is cooled.
- The temperature decrease in the head condenses the methylene chloride vapor, decreasing the vapor pressure in the head relative to the vapor pressure in the abdomen.
- The greater vapor pressure in the abdomen forces fluid up through the neck and into the head.
- As fluid enters the head, it makes the Dippy Bird top-heavy.
- The bird tips. Liquid travels to the head. The bottom of the tube is no longer submerged in liquid.
- Vapor bubbles travel through the tube and into the head. Liquid drains from the head, displaced by the bubbles.
- Fluid drains back into the abdomen, making the bird bottom-heavy.
- The bird tips back up.
Show And Tell No More
Rhetorical questions :
Which show and tell of the red dipping bird did you like more?
Which one did you learn more from?
Which one was presented in an interesting way?
Which description do you think there was plenty of effort behind?
Figuring It Out
We are doing the world a great injustice when we don’t incorporate this critical variable to the Show and Tell process we teach our youngest students. What makes matters worse is that more than three quarters of adults still follow the same routine system of show and tell that they were taught as kids.
The variable of “figuring out” how something works, what something is, or why it does a particular thing is essential to producing real results. Results that are human, that are original, and that are backed with experience. These are the results that create profit.
The market used to be in the pocket of those who could show and tell well, even more so to those who mastered it. Now it goes to those who figure it out, who provide content and experience it, who make sure that what they are showing and telling is their art, their invention and their creation.
Stay Positive & You Have Some Figuring Out To Do
Garth E. Beyer