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BOTD 4/3/14 "The Scientific Method" A DMK Production

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David M. Katz


Marshall
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
A DMK Production

Your fourteen year old son, Monroe, is still subject to spanking if needed.  Monroe is in eighth grade and is typically an average to above average student who behaves well in school.  This school year Monroe struggled with his Science class.  He failed the first grading period.  A discussion with the teacher showed that Monroe was participating and turning in assignments; it just seemed he wasn't grasping the material. The teacher felt Monroe would eventually be able to catch on especially since he was participating and trying to do the assignments.  Mid-way through the second grading period Monroe's Science teacher called you and said Monroe would fail the second grading period as well.  Again, Monroe seemed to be trying but couldn't grasp the material.  The teacher was willing to move Monroe to another teacher's section but that would have involved rearranging Monroe's entire school schedule.  The teacher suggested a tutor.  Monroe worked with the tutor and began to comprehend the material.  He did not fail the third grading period and showed improvement but his grade was still low.

Earlier this week, Monroe's Science teacher called you.  He explained that Monroe was doing better and improvement was seen but the lower grades from the first part of the school year would greatly impact his overall average for the year.  He said Monroe would pass, but barely. The Science teacher has a plan.  The teacher suggests that Monroe enter a project into the school's Science fair.  The teacher says he will offer Monroe enough extra credit for entering the fair to raise his grade at least one letter.  (Participation in the fair is voluntary.) You are told that if the project is very well done that Monroe might even be able to raise his grade by two letters.  The teacher tells you he will send a list of suggested project topics home with Monroe.

MONROE - 14
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You realize that the project will most likely require you to help Monroe but you are willing.  Today you ask Monroe if he has selected his project topic as you want to get him started and you want to purchase any needed supplies.  Monroe looks at you and says, "I'm not gonna do the Science fair; I don't want to." You remind Monroe that he needs the extra credit to improve his grade average.  Monroe responds, "I'm gonna pass so it's no big deal."

Your response?


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AFinch


Sherrif
"It's no big deal", like "whatever", are words that are very likely to set me off. So I'll take a deep breath.

In point of fact, he's right--it IS no big deal if he's going to pass, because his "permanent record" doesn't count until high school--next year. But I don't want him to think that.

It's nice that the teacher is willing to help out, now that the horse has been stolen from the open barn. It would have been nicer had a tutor been suggested earlier on. And in a day of online progress reports, texts, cellphones, and school websites, I don't understand why it wasn't.

Nonetheless, Monroe has the opportunity to improve his grade, by a lot, and he's going to take advantage of that opportunity. We don't always get second chances in life. I'm going to tell Monroe that I don't want to go to work tomorrow morning, but I will, because that's what responsible people do. And that he will do the extra credit project for the Science Fair for the same reason. If he's the boy I've raised, that should end the matter.

John Boy


Sherrif
Deep breath, explain why I think it is still important, and then I guess make it his choice.

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Iconoclast


Trailboss
I will suggest a topic that will have real significance: Is "Global Warming" a hoax? I know there is lots of research material on the internet, as well as over 100 years of records!

To encourage Monroe I will offer him $250 if he does a good job with the amount doubled If the teacher attempts to punish him for exposing lies in the curriculum! I will explain to Monroe that I mainly want him to expose lies taught as truth to his classmates, and he is right -- whatever grade he is given does not matter!

Iconoclast

Stone Man


Marshall
AFinch wrote: "It's no big deal", like "whatever", are words that are very likely to set me off.  So I'll take a deep breath.

Hearing "It's no big deal" I'll be doing so much deep breathing I'll likely pass out.  Laughing 

AFinch wrote: Monroe - If he's the boy I've raised, that should end the matter.

And here lies a problem. Monroe IS the boy I raised, but some of life's lessons that I feel are important have not been internalized by my boy. I wish I had gotten him a tutor earlier. I'm still wondering why the great difficulty with this year's science course.

I'm afraid that me pushing Monroe into the Science Fair will not have the desired effect. It would be a stretch for me, but I would try my best to let Monroe make his own decision... after we've talked the heck out of the subject.

ivor


Marshall
Is Science that important to him? He obviously isn't going to make a career in it, so surely a pass is all he needs?

Thinking back to when I was at school I was useless at the Science subjects we took from age 11. When we got to around age 14 the class was split into those doing science subjects and those doing 'modern' ones in order that we stood a better chance in the national exams that all would take at age 16.

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MemoryMan


Sherrif
AFinch wrote: Nonetheless, Monroe has the opportunity to improve his grade, by a lot, and he's going to take advantage of that opportunity.  We don't always get second chances in life.  I'm going to tell Monroe that I don't want to go to work tomorrow morning, but I will, because that's what responsible people do.  And that he will do the extra credit project for the Science Fair for the same reason.  If he's the boy I've raised, that should end the matter.

I'm inclined to ditto here but point out that with a bit of slippage a borderline pass could equally become a borderline fail.

I'll tell him that even though science is not his forte that the skill it imparts to analyse evidence objectively, be it the origin of the universe, making business/life decisions or even politician's vacuous promises makes a basic understanding of it as important a life skill as a basic understanding of maths and English.

I'll also steal his "going to work" analogy to point out that in the world of work outstanding achievement often brings additional financial reward, promise my ongoing assistance in his project, and also offer a bonus package based on his final grading.

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Jack


Admin
Monroe is in eighth grade, so it really isn't a big deal.

HOWEVER, the attitude behind his approach is a big deal. The thing is, I can't really expect him to understand that, so it's my duty to find an approach that will convince him he needs to do this.

Punishment (or threats thereof) can be a good motivator, so I can ground him until it gets done, or threaten to spank him if he doesn't make every deadline involved (escalating spankings, I assume). To me, the best bet seems to talk to him about learned patterns, and being willing to work hard and make up work, and how the habits he's developing now will effect him his entire life - and I can provide a couple of examples from my own life about how being lazy and/or procrastinating can make things miserable later.

I'll then look over what his teacher has given us, and maybe go to the bookstore to find some books on science fair experiments. We'll try to move away from the class he's taking now, and find something that really interests him that we can do together.


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squarecutter


Sherrif
I'm not sure I can force Monroe but that I'm not happy with his attitude I will make clear. I also think he will gain a lot of satisfaction and may even learn something along the way. Still, given his attitude , and the show of (over?) confidence I will promise him the mother of all spankings if he fails and summer school if he fails in Science after his teacher has bent over backwards to help and presented this opportunity. Has it just become a big deal young man?

StevieWeeks


Trailboss
Stevie did participate in a science fair when he was thirteen and won a prize - which my brother - in - law threw out about five years ago much to my dismay - this was, of course, fully voluntary on my part and I was not coerced in any way into doing it...

I would find it difficult to believe that a son of mine would not want to participate in something like this and all...

However, given that the boy is borderline, and may not pass his year I will encourage him to take part... although I shan't force him, he'll be made fully aware that there will be very serious consequences if he does fail his year... up to and including forced attendance at summer school, plus punishments that he will likely regard as quite severe.

He's been given a second chance... if he screws it up it's his own lookout and all... this will be made very clear indeed to him.

I could suggest a scientific study of the effects of senna upon the bowel habits of thirteen year old boys...

Stevie  Twisted Evil 

Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
I can understand why Monroe isn't eager to participate in the science fair. He has struggled with the subject all year and had to put in extra work already with a tutor to pass. At his age, he may have a difficult time seeing value in a higher overall average. When all is said and done, I must ask myself what the value of raising the grade is unless Monroe himself desires it. It's hard for parents to recognize the line between encouraging excellence and being overbearing. I need to ask myself whether I'm not merely projecting my own ambitions onto Monroe, which may backfire on me. I'll encourage him to participate and explain to him that it's my belief he'll regret not raising the grade in the future; ultimately, however, I'll leave the decision with him.

Kat

1strappedboy


Sherrif
Like so many here, I'll 'count to 10 and do it again' at hearing "it's no big deal" from Monroe. It is a hot button phrase for me as well.

While I won't 'force' him to participate either, we'll talk thoroughly about ALL possibilities from the possibility that grade slippage could occur (and the penalties thereof!) to simply taking advantage of a second chance. At the end of the day, it really isn't that big a deal but I can't allow HIM to entertain that sort of thinking.

BTW, why did it take 2 grading periods for me to catch a clue that my boy needed a tutor?

David M. Katz


Marshall
Here 8th grade science is typically baby physics with some earth science mixed in although my 8th graders are both in biology.

I need to see this from Monroe's POV. He's actually worked hard. he did assignments and tried his best even when he was clueless to the material and he has taken time to work with a tutor. I understand how he can't stand the idea of spending even more time on something he hates.

I will caution Monroe that his "barely pass" could turn to "barely fail" with just a bad quiz grade. He needs to look at the Science Fair as insurance against failing the class and all that will bring.

I will talk to Monroe that this doesn't have to be something he hates. I love Jack's idea of going to the library or the internet. We can find a project that suits Monroe's interests and then put a "scientific twist" on it. The teacher's list is mere suggestions.

I think once Monroe sees this is something he can have fun with that he will be on board.




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John Boy


Sherrif
David M. Katz wrote:Here 8th grade science is typically baby physics with some earth science mixed in although my 8th graders are both in biology.

I need to see this from Monroe's POV.  He's actually worked hard.  he did assignments and tried his best even when he was clueless to the material and he has taken time to work with a tutor.  I understand how he can't stand the idea of spending even more time on something he hates.

I will caution Monroe that his "barely pass" could turn to "barely fail" with just a bad quiz grade.  He needs to look at the Science Fair as insurance against failing the class and all that will bring.

I will talk to Monroe that this doesn't have to be something he hates.  I love Jack's idea of going to the library or the internet.  We can find a project that suits Monroe's interests and then put a "scientific twist" on it.  The teacher's list is mere suggestions.

I think once Monroe sees this is something he can have fun with that he will be on board.



Katz says it well.

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mahoover


Cowboy
I agree with the general consensus that he shouldn't be forced to participate in the science fair. I will sit down with him and talk about it. I will make it very clear that there will be consequences of not passing, and how easy it is to go from barely passing to failing.

With that being said, I will tell him about an extra credit physics lab that I didn't do in high school, and have always regretted. The lab was to measure the muzzle velocity of a rifle. You accomplished this by firing into a block of wood suspended as a pendulum. And by measuring the mass of the wood before it was hit, after it was hit, and how it moved, you can compute the momentum. And from that you can get the velocity of the bullet when it hit the wood. So I will offer to enroll him in the appropriate gun safety class and take him to the range to practice his marksmanship. Then we can do the experiment together (at the range), and he can take pictures and write it up for the science fair.

Hopefully Monroe will see the fun he can have, and the status gain with his friends from going to the range and decide to participate. If this doesn't sound interesting to him, I will see if there is something else he would like to do, and if we can think of a way to make it a science project. In the end, it will be his decision if he wants to participate.

Kai


Deputy
mahoover wrote:I agree with the general consensus that he shouldn't be forced to participate in the science fair.  I will sit down with him and talk about it.  I will make it very clear that there will be consequences of not passing, and how easy it is to go from barely passing to failing.

With that being said, I will tell him about an extra credit physics lab that I didn't do in high school, and have always regretted.  The lab was to measure the muzzle velocity of a rifle.  You accomplished this by firing into a block of wood suspended as a pendulum.  And by measuring the mass of the wood before it was hit, after it was hit, and how it moved, you can compute the momentum.  And from that you can get the velocity of the bullet when it hit the wood.  So I will offer to enroll him in the appropriate gun safety class and take him to the range to practice his marksmanship.  Then we can do the experiment together (at the range), and he can take pictures and write it up for the science fair.

Hopefully Monroe will see the fun he can have, and the status gain with his friends from going to the range and decide to participate.  If this doesn't sound interesting to him, I will see if there is something else he would like to do, and if we can think of a way to make it a science project.  In the end, it will be his decision if he wants to participate.

Did Icono hijack mahoovers account? Very Happy

mahoover


Cowboy
Everybody has some rebel in them. Smile And sometimes the best way to motivate is to feed the rebel in a safe way. As long as it doesn't get out of hand, its fine too push the limits. You just have to understand where they are and not go over them.

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