Today’s teaching tool is a simple egg.
For a few months, I found goose eggs at the market. They were a joy to cook with and eat, and I blew one to keep to teach with. Simple, really.
What’s so important about this egg? Firstly, almost all my students think they’re sophisticated in knowing both hen eggs and quail eggs. Occasionally someone knows duck eggs. Historically, however, humans ate many types of eggs, so anyone in the history side of my teaching needs to know what ‘egg’ means when it’s referred to in a text. Anyone in my writing side of teaching (where I teach writers how to build a world for their novel, or how to interpret historical records for fiction, or how to work out what the character is seeing or tasting that’s different from what they themselves see or taste) needs to know what they really mean when they say ‘egg.’ Anyone writing a science fiction novel or inventing a world to put their novel in needs to know that unless they think about it, the eggs they choose will be hen ‘s eggs and will cook like hens’ eggs and taste like hens’ eggs.
This single goose egg is accompanied by a particularly large pullet egg, to give you a notion of size –the large pullet egg is about the same size as an ordinary hens’ egg, which meets historical fiction readers’ needs to understand hens’ eggs. So many bits of handy information in a single photo.
With this egg, I encourage my students to think more deeply about the world they set their fiction in.