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"Learning with granny" will be a monthly column for kids. Find out about a Granny with a difference, why she is passionate about science and find out  why her books and poems are a hit with cyberkids. Granny kicks off next month with short stories and poems for cyberkids. Kids can send their questions directly to granny by E-mail


Don’t expect to find Granny Jenny baking biscuits in the kitchen. She is more likely buried in her books or ‘surfing’ the Internet asking ‘Why, when, and how?’ 

Granny Jenny is pictured here in her loft - which leads out to her deck in the centre of her universeOn a clear night she is on her deck captivated by constellations. Thrilled to point out stars and planets or a satellite gliding across the sky. No one misses a meteor shower or an eclipse of the moon..

Often surrounded by her grand-children, the question ‘Where did we come from?’ led her on an in-depth research in genealogy followed by a search for Man’s origin in palaeanthopology. Intrigued by fossil finds, she draws out charts and maps to share what she learns with ‘the children’ - in  her first book: "The Stars at the Seaside"

Granny Jenny tries to relate in a simple manner, the scientific explanation of ‘The Big Bang’ , how the Earth took form, the drifting continents and how life began... in her second book for kids ‘From the Big Bang to Man’. Here Granny Jenny takes the children on a trip up Africa and follows the route that her very early ancestors might have taken to eventually reach Europe and Asia before spreading around the world... and returning to the stars as she ‘takes off’ into space and Cyberspace. 

So if you have a Granny of your own - share some Science with her. 

Even if you haven’t - join us as each month as we go ‘learning with Granny’ while she simplifies ‘Science for Cyberkids’..

Of direct Irish descent, Granny always has a song or a verse to make the telling of a story easier to comprehend. Here is her story. 

I believe the stars are the key
To Man's advance through history

An early ancestor looked up and saw
Something others had not noticed before

Life stopped being just a game
Of eating and sleeping and joy and pain

They began to monitor and to recognize
As regular shapes [*]appeared in the skies

With in-depth thought, and not feeling the strain
This exercise began to develop the brain

They started to question and wanted to know
Where the lights[*] came from, to where do they go

They stood on two legs - all the better to see
Not just the ground or the food on the tree

As recorded in the books of theology
Man was advanced with a new technology

They watched the moon as it waxed and waned
And wondered where the sun went when it rained

They found numerous ways of utilize stones
For hunting, gathering cleaning flesh from the bones

They learnt to make fire and respected it's worth
Surely the greatest discovery on Earth.

Something stirred in Early Man as they foraged
A desperate longing to gain more knowledge

Of where the 'shapes' [*] went in the night
After the sun replaced their twinkling light

They gathered their families, took their best stone tools
Said farewell to their mountain, forest and sparkling pools

They kept to the River over the years
Leaving evidence of their joy and their fears

Some tired of traveling and broke from the group
They chose to settle along the route

Establishing thriving civilizations
Developing cultures of early nations

Others went on - recalling the myths
Handed down to them like treasured gifts

Of the beautiful mountain and the stars in the sky
and the respect to be shown to Men when they die

The descendants, whose numbers now was vast,
Built great monuments to recall their past

To tell of "The Mountains Of The Moon'
And to honour their theory that 'death is not doom'

We know very little of Africa's past -
But 'she's opening 'her' secrets' to the World at last.

Let's combine our knowledge - we can!
If we fail to work together - then God save Man.

[*] stars
Jenny Marais 5/2/2000

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