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Monday, April 24, 2006

Time to change the oil

Over the weekend, I gave an extra credit science homework assignment. Since everyone was in dire need of a break from mathematics after the big test last week, we focused on science on Wednesday and Thursday. The topic at hand was natural resources-the different types, where they come from, ways to conserve them, etc.
So for the homework, I asked them to take a piece of paper (no, I did not ask them to recycle it firsthand) and either write a little blurb about resources or to draw a poster about the importance of conservation.
I got some pretty good stuff back. I also got some very... interesting... papers. I'd like to share a few that tickled me. (Oh, and I've cleaned up the spellings to make it easier to read what they wrote.)

-- One of my girls,Y, wrote the following: "Mister Teacher told us that the water in the toilet is clean water when you flush the toilet it goes to a machine and it cleans the water so you can drink it." Great! I can just see my kids going home and telling their parents that I told them it's OK to drink from the toilet! Conserve that water, kids! Drink from the toilet!

-- A boy in my class wrote about saving electricity. "Saving electricity is when you turn off everything that takes electricity and if you don't and go to church for five hours. The next day, you will get electric bill and you have to pay money. If you do turn off the lights and TV, you will not have to pay money." Don't I wish!

-- This one takes the cake for the most bizarre entry. When I was picking up the homeworks, I was happy to finally have one that had some color on it -- this little girl had used some crayons to add to her picture. But the caption she had written just made no sense to me. "Here go some trees that are falling and on fire. Trees break down." I have a vision of Smokey the Bear warning everyone, "Only YOU can prevent conserving resources..."

-- V, one of my smarter girls, drew a very nice picture that looked a lot like the picture in our science text depicting the steps that aluminum cans go through to be recycled. As far as I know, she only had her memory of reading the page to go by, but the picture was very accurate, and very impressive. The written part of the procedure though was a bit off-base. "1) People recycle so they can have more stuff they recycled. People chop them up to get smaller pieces. 2) It goes through a machine and melts all the paint. 3) Then it goes through another machine so it could melt the pieces of cans. 4) The melted stuff goes in a big cup and turns into solid. 5) Finally the solid turns into soft plastic. The plastic turns into a can again."

I got a smile out of reading some of these submissions. I'll have to be sure to give a similar assignment once we start studying the solar system -- it'll be fun to see what I get back on THAT topic!

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