Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Missing Something?

The all-school science fair is tomorrow, and so especially with the unexpected day off yesterday, you can imagine that our hallways were literally buzzing with sixth graders assembling their final presentation boards. Everywhere you looked, one of a hundred kids was typing, proofing, printing, reprinting, cutting, and gluing. Shreds of brightly colored paper littered the carpets of each classroom.

And so it was that of course I agreed when a small group of students asked if I would stay until the late bus to help them finish up. An inveterate procrastinator myself, I know what it's like to work right down to the deadline.

As they were cleaning up, I walked around to take a last look at their work. One student had been at it for hours. She had her title, all of her headings, and some cool illustrations. "Where's your graph and data table?" I asked.

"Oh, I don't have those," she said.

I was startled. "Well, where's your data? I'll help you make those," I offered.

She shrugged. "I don't have any."

"What!!??" My jaw literally dropped open. "But, your board says your project was The Effect of Music on Memory."

"That's right," she told me, "and I know from  personal experience that you only have to hear a song twice before you know most of the words."

"No, no, no," I cried. "You were supposed to do an experiment! We could have been working on that instead of this!" I swept my hand across the table in dismay.

"Why would we do that?" she asked. "The board is due tomorrow."

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