Freddie Got a Prize
Freddie and Eve were next-door-neighbours in Chapel Drive, Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland. They were in third class at St. John’s National School.

Miss Tumble's blackboard
Miss Tumble’s blackboard

It was nearing the end of the school year. They were looking forward to the school tour to the Steam Museum at Straffan. Their teacher, Miss Tumble, had promised the outing to the class, as all the children had been so well behaved during the year.
Miss Tumble was great. She often had surprises and treats for the children and she had lovely ways of explaining things. She gave them prizes on occasions and showed them how to make things like windmills or straw rockets
Miss Tumble was very up-to-date. She told the children they were surrounded by so much technology like computers, telephones, cars, washing machines and aeroplanes that it was easy to take it all for granted. She told them they were living in the Information Age and that because of all the information stored in computers, technology was changing more rapidly than ever. Yet, only a few hundred years ago people had very few technical devices in their lives. Miss Tumble said that once steam engines were invented, technology began to develop very rapidly indeed.
Although she was much too young to remember steam engines herself, Miss Tumble decided it would be a good idea to find out about them. She said learning about steam engines would help the children to understand what technology was and how it had developed. She had taken out books about steam engines from the library and had been giving the children some information each day for a month during a special ‘steam engine’ lesson.
Freddie and Eve had enjoyed the lessons. Miss Tumble drew lots of diagrams on the blackboard and the children copied them down. When Miss Tumble talked about the diagrams they almost came to life.
In the very first steam engine lesson Miss Tumble had asked the children what they knew about steam. Tom had told the class that his grandad had a sauna. He said the steam came from water that was heated up. The air in the sauna got very hot because of the steam. Nobody else had a sauna, but nearly everyone in the class had an electric kettle at home. All the children knew that the steam that came from the spout of a kettle was very hot and dangerous.
Angela didn’t like steam very much. She said that it made the mirror in her bathroom get all fogged up every time she took a bath. Miss Tumble explained that steam changed back to liquid water when it came into contact with something cold like a mirror. This was called condensation.
Freddie got a prize for being able to spell CONDENSATION, because it had twelve letters in it. It was a sticker that said ‘Too many sweets are bad for your teeth.’ He said he would always think of that word whenever steam changed back into water.

Miss Tumble's sticker about sweets and teeth Miss Tumble's sticker about sweets and teeth

Edward said that clouds were made of steam too. Miss Tumble said that was correct. She added that they were white because they contained tiny droplets of water. The sun heated the sea and some of the water changed into steam that rose up into the air and formed clouds. This was called evaporation. Freddie was the first to be able to spell EVAPORATION correctly. He didn’t get a prize, because it had only eleven letters in it. Freddie said he much preferred condensation.
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