I am so glad that tomorrow is Friday. My carpal tunnel syndrome has really been aggravating me. For the past two days, I have been wearing one of those wrist braces – you know, the kind that makes it looks like I’m going on the professional bowling tour. Of course, the kids keep asking me, “Mister Teacher, what happened to your hand?” I just told them, “I’m just trying to be more like a super hero!” Now I am Mister Iron Fist. Well, I guess I’m really more like Mister Rigid Plastic and Polymer Blend (with Delicate Weave!) Right now, I am trying out one of those voice-recognition software systems. 52 were pretty well, oil fingers car city. (That was supposed to be, “It seems to be working pretty well, all things considered.) And hey, it’s only taken me 30 minutes to compose this paragraph!
Today, we practiced elapsed temperature problems in class. That’s right, ELAPSED temperature problems. When I was in school, I’m pretty sure we never did anything like this, certainly not in the third grade. In fact, I don’t even think I heard the word elapsed until after I had my master’s degree in engineering! But anyway, it’s on the curriculum, so it must be taught. The problems are all of this sort:
This morning, the temperature outside was 74ºF. By the afternoon, it had risen to 88ºF. What was the change in temperature?
After seeing this on the test my very first year teaching, and realizing what difficulty my kids were having with it, I’ve started practicing the skill with them much earlier in the year. So most of them have gotten pretty good at it, but a few of them always want to add the numbers, regardless of how high they are or what they mean. Yes, B, the temperature went up 162 degrees today! Let’s not stop to consider whether or not that makes any sense, let’s just add numbers, because adding is fun! Whenever I see a kid who has chosen such an answer, I always ask them, “Do you realize how hot that is? If it ever got that hot, we would all die! There would be fires! Earthquakes!! Dogs and cats living together!!! MASS HYSTERIA!!!!”
Sadly, they never seem to take the hint. We’ll just see how they do on the test tomorrow, and see who still thinks we’re living inside a furnace.