Today I covered a forensics class. Juniors and seniors. I have subbed for this teacher before, so I knew that his classes would be, um, relaxed, as he's a very easy-going guy.
They had a writing assignment. They were to write a report from the perspective of a crime scene investigator processing a crime scene that they invented. They were given possible items that they could find. They were to pick 10 and include them in the report.
I thought it was an interesting assignment. They weren't pleased. First period wanted to argue about the assignment with the teacher. (I asked if the teacher would then relent, and they said probably not.)
One of the things they could find was blowflies. After having several students ask what a blowfly was, I looked it up on the Internet. I found this site, and once I explained, they all replied the same: "Oh, right. We did study that."
Second period wanted to know if they could use people they knew as characters in their report. The way they asked the question made me think that not pleasant things were awaiting their characters. The worry was that their report could be seen as a threat against the real people. Considering the class and the assignment, I said that they were probably okay, but to be careful. (As I'm not the one grading these things, I have to be careful as to what I say is and is not permissible.)
Then a student in fourth period asked what a matchbook was. Have matchbooks gone out of style? Do they no longer exist? It troubled me a little when I got the question the first time. After the third time, I wondered when matchbooks had become obsolete, and why I missed this.
I'm not sure when, but it was later in the day when a student asked what an apple core was.
It's interesting to see where their knowledge gaps are. I have no idea why they don't know some of these things. I wonder about it sometimes.