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During Science Their Head Was In The Clouds

| Learning | January 19, 2017

(Our art teacher hands out to everyone a black and white photo of a pretty normal landscape with some grass hills, mountains, a few clouds, and an otherwise clear sky. Our task is to repaint the landscape realistically with water colors, emphasis on ‘realistically.’ After a few hours of work, the first students come to her to turn in their finished drawings.)

Teacher: “Yes, it looks quite good so far, but you all forgot one thing. The clouds need a taint of green on the bottom.”

Students: “Why?”

Teacher: “Because the green grass gets reflected in the clouds.”

(Even trainee teacher who was there at that time agreed with her, so most students reluctantly started adding green taints to the clouds to not risk a worse grade. I, as a passionate scientist, came up to her.)

Me: “Excuse me, but could you please come with me to the window?”

Teacher: “Sure.”

(At the window I pointed at the clouds outside.)

Me: “What color do those clouds have in your eyes?”

Teacher: “Oh, I get what you mean. But of course those are not green. They are over the city, not over grass.”

Me: “Shouldn’t they be tainted red, then? Because 99% of the roofs in the city are red?”

Teacher: “Oh, you see, it’s not the red roofs that get reflected in the clouds, but the grey streets.”

(At this point, I just gave up on arguing with her and added some green taint to the underside of the clouds for a better grade. Others were already finishing that part and wanted to turn in their revised drawings.)

Teacher: “Yeah, looks much better now. But you all should also add some blue taints in some spots of the grass.”

Students: “Why?”

Teacher: “Because the blue sky gets also reflected in the grass.”

(And that point, I couldn’t reconcile it with my scientific conscience anymore and just turned my drawing it, not caring about my grade. Needless to say, I dropped art class as soon as I could.)

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