Social Studies Prove That Analogies Abhor A Vacuum

, , , , , , | Learning | November 12, 2018

(This takes place in high school social studies class. The teacher is explaining a concept of economics. I’m known to be a pretty smart kid and a whiz at science, but I don’t usually participate.)

Teacher: “Think of it this way. Does anybody know how a vacuum cleaner works?”

(A few students raise their hands, including me.)

Teacher: “[Student #1]?”

Student #1: “It sucks stuff in with a big fan.”

Teacher: “No, that’s incorrect. [Student #2]?”

Student #2: “There’s a pump and it pulls air in.”

Teacher: “Nope, not right, either.”

(The teacher then looks at me and gives me a look that tells me he is not looking forward to my response.)

Teacher: “[My Name]?”

Me: “Things always move from an area of higher concentration to lower concentration, so a vacuum cleaner pumps air out of a chamber inside it, creating an area of lower air pressure inside. The higher air pressure outside of the vacuum pushes things into it, and they end up in the bag, which is porous to allow air to pass through.”

Teacher: *pause* “No, that’s not right, either. The point is, nobody knows how a vacuum works.”

(He carried on with the lesson, and I frowned and sat back in my chair, knowing I had a better explanation than anyone else, and deciding that he wasn’t expecting someone to actually know how a vacuum cleaner works, ruining the analogy.)

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