So when it came my turn to talk, I ignored the collared shirts, hunkered down in front of the kids, and gave the example of using our system to control... a Lego motor. And the scene gradually shifted into an ECS tutorial. A motor materialized at my elbow when I turned around, and when I turned from drawing diagrams of torque on the blackboard it was not surprising to find it hooked up to a DAQ, which was plugged into a laptop chugging MATLAB which had definitely not been on the table before...
We talked about Ohm's law (again) and I found myself thinking, for completely unrelated reasons as the kids pretended to be electrons, that I should really pick up a book on semiconductors afterwards (I should). It wasn't until a towheaded boy piped up about the nonlinearity of various components that I realized it was odd for 5th graders to understand the differential equations associated with viscous damping. How are they asking these questions? I thought in wonder. Oh! I'm dreaming!
Gosh, I should add this stuff to the textbook! I thought, and found myself staring at the side of a digital alarm clock, followed by a slight wave of disappointment that I wasn't actually teaching.
Lots of thinking to do. And lots of work. I just need to be at my computer long enough to do it. The family's been doing a good job of keeping me away from my laptop, but I'm going to tell them that today, after lunch, I really need to get work done now.