Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Figuring it Out


High school chemistry. It's the beginning of the year, so they were learning about significant figures. I thought the assignment much easier than they thought it was. It helps that the topic isn't new to me.

As I did my first walk around, one girl was explaining to a fellow student something about the assignment. I stopped and listened for a moment. As she was explaining it correctly, I didn't interrupt. Then I moved on.

(I like when students help students. Both students get something out of it.)

A bit later in the period, a boy raised his hand.

"Who's right, me or her?"

As the girl he was indicating was the one who had been helping another student earlier, I assumed the girl. But when he showed me which problem and I looked at it, I was surprised to find that the girl was actually wrong.

The boy gloated. I pointed out that he was still figuring things out too. (Not all his work was 100% correct.)

The girl and I debated for a bit. But once I found the rule she needed in her notes, she was able to figure things out. (She had her notes out. The boy did not.) She had been looking at the wrong rule.

(I had not realized how much of this I had internalized until I'm hit with seeing the "rules" written out. It's amazing how much one can retain.)

20 comments:

  1. I would probably flounder about. I've never been good with the sciences. Man, maybe I should go take a chemistry class.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only if you find chemistry interesting. If you're looking for a science to study, start with physics :)

      Delete
    2. I just used one of my estories credits for "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry" by Neil deGrasse Tyson. I mostly got it for my husband who is a science buff, but I figured it might be an interesting listen (as an audiobook). Maybe I'll start there with my sciences. :)

      Delete
  2. Hi Liz - it's keeping your wits about you at all times - well done ... cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ugh, significant figures. They always seemed like a waste of time to me. But I suppose it prepares students for all the pointless rule memorizing in other chemistry classes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That sounded like a good discussion between the girl and you. When I read significant figures I thought it referred to people. I've nothing retained from chemistry other than a few chemical symbols.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow. You hit that one out the ballpark. Chemistry, no less. And students who care and understand. Wow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The students that don't care about school take survey of biology in 10th grade.

      Delete
  6. Well it's a good way to keep current. The rest of us will fail spectacularly on Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader - we'll rely on you to have re-learned it all by osmosis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know about 5th grade. I'm well-versed in the higher grades.

      Delete
  7. Great learning experience for all I think. The girl was able to have a good discussion with you and you were able to show her the correct answer and you also learned how much you had retained, win win situation I believe.

    betty

    ReplyDelete
  8. At least they were both doing the problem and working which is a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I just saw your comment...start with physics?! Ugh, I did physics, chemistry and biology in high school and physics was my worst.

    ReplyDelete
  10. At the very least they both were trying to do it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Haha...was it hard for them to understand or were they making it harder then it needed to be?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think they were making it harder than it needed to be. But it is one of those things that is tricky in the beginning, before one really understands what the numbers mean.

      Delete
  12. You have to listen when teach has something to say cos' thats like simple logic. Life is hard right? lol.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh that feels like so long ago. Impressive you've been able to retain that much of it!

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate your comments.

I respond to comments via email, unless your profile email is not enabled. Then, I'll reply in the comment thread. Eventually. Probably.