Posts Tagged ‘students’


Thursday, September 10th, 2009

There’s a reason I never leave my food unattended around students:

The teacher had stepped away from her desk for a few moments around 3:30 p.m. Sept. 2. After returning, she drank her tea and noticed it had a “peculiar taste,” according to a York County Sheriff’s Office report.

The taste of … hand sanitizer.

At the time of the incident, five students were in her classroom waiting on a school bus, the report stated. The students told the assistant principal and school resource officer they didn’t see anyone put anything in the teacher’s drink.

Of course they didn’t see anything.  And whichever one put the sanitizer in this teacher’s drink just wanted to make sure the drink had been disinfected.

The cat’s from Barcelona

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

While I wait for tomorrow’s test to finish copying, I thought I’d share a sign posted on the bulletin board   Need an anatomy and physics book?

Used 210/211 anatomy and physicology with cat manuel.  Very good condition.  I only used it two weeks las semester.

Used 210/211 anatomy and physicology with cat manuel. Very good condition. I only used it two weeks las semester.

A real bargain, since it includes a cat from Barcelona!

Having it both ways

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

There’s some argument on the merits of partial credit – giving students some points for getting at least part of a complex answer correct.  Sometimes, partial credit is beneficial – but the existence of partial credit causes another problem:

Some students simply won’t commit to an answer, hoping to somehow pass on a wave of partial credit.  As an example, consider the question below.  It’s part of a lab write-up where the students measured the pH of a solution of sodium hydroxide using pH paper and other indicators.

Question: Was the solution acidic or basic? _________________
Student answerAcidic, with the presence of base

Of course, the correct answer is “basic” – which was very obvious if the student had even glanced at the directions for using the indicators.  But instead of doing that, this student just thought he’d wing it, get done with the lab write-up a whole minute faster, and try to get points for his answer anyway.

I imagine that students keep trying this strategy because it has worked somewhere before.  But not today.

Be Prepared

Monday, September 8th, 2008

This blog has been very quiet lately.  Sorry about that, but when you’re preparing for five labs a week in addition to lecture courses, things get a little … hectic.

That said, we’re four weeks into the semester down here, and we’ve started our labs.  I normally push the start of labs back a week, so as to avoid having people add my class after we’ve already done a lab and discussed lab safety.

A bit of the lab schedule

A bit of the lab schedule

The Labor Day holiday pushed the start of the “real” experiments back even farther – ample time for everyone to pick up one of these.

The laboratory notebook, also known as a 50-cent compostion book.

The laboratory notebook, also known as a 50-cent composition book.

… so why is it that half of the class comes to lab without even having attempted to buy a laboratory notebook?  It’s not like I’ve forced students to buy something exotic like the $25 lab books I had to buy when I was an engineering undergrad.  Just about every store in the area that sells school supplies stocks these composition books!

Or were these folks simply not paying attention?

You know, if we could figure out how to solve America’s attention-deficit-disorder problem, that would go a long way to solving our other problems.  Just sayin’. 🙂