Thursday, January 19, 2017
It was a clever assignment. One I hadn't seen before.
7th grade life science. They were learning about photosynthesis. And how it related to cellular respiration. The project was relating the two by making a "poster".
The "poster" had two halves. One half showed photosynthesis. The other, cellular respiration.
The class was broken up into partners. Each partner did one half (either photosynthesis or cellular respiration), and then they put the halves together to make a whole.
Cordelia came over to me. She wanted to do the photosynthesis part of the poster. Um, okay. But not my call. This was between her and her partner, Jessica.
But, Jessica wanted to do photosynthesis, too.
Nope, I was not making that decision. I informed the girls that they needed to work it out themselves. I suggested flipping a coin or rock-paper-scissors. They went back to their seats. For a time.
Jessica returned. She told me that they had done rock-paper-scissors, best two out of three (and she even told me what they'd thrown), and Jessica had won. Okay, great. Jessica would to photosynthesis.
But then Cordelia came back. She claimed she had won rock-paper-scissors, best two out of three...
I am terrible at spotting liars. Students lie to me with straight faces all the time, and I can't be sure if they're lying or not. But this time...
Jessica was a very sweet, very quiet girl. I get the impression that if she lost the tiebreaker, she would have accepted the outcome. Reluctantly, but she would have. Cordelia, on the other hand, was the type of girl who was going to get her way no matter what. A louder personality. She was going to bludgeon her way into doing photosynthesis.
(I set up the partners, so these two would not have chosen to work together.)
Cordelia had already titled her paper "Photosynthesis", and she insisted that that was what she was going to do.
I think she expected me to make Jessica do cellular respiration. But I'm not built that way. I felt the need to stick up for Jessica. I'd give Cordelia a new paper. Cordelia was going to do cellular respiration.
Yeah, well, Cordelia wasn't built that way...
After a day (they had two and a half days to work on the project) of Cordelia running to me to complain, I had had enough. Fine. They could both do photosynthesis. They were no longer partners.
(The assignment was set up so each half of the assignment could be graded separately. So, unfortunately, that wouldn't penalize Cordelia. But, luckily, it wouldn't penalize Jessica, either.)