The Bitter Truth

, , | Learning | June 6, 2017

(This is an eighth grade science class, and we are talking about genetics. Our teacher hands out slips of paper which he says have PTC on them, an extremely bitter chemical which only some people can taste. The students are not informed that it tastes bitter.)

Teacher: “Have any of you ever tasted PTC before?”

(Several students raise their hands, including Student #1 and Student #2.)

Teacher: “Place the paper on your tongue. How many of you can taste it?”

(Student #1 raises hand, and exclaims:)

Student #1: “It tastes sweet, kinda like sugar paper!”

(A few other students raise their hands.)

Student #2: *who has tasted it before* “I don’t taste anything.”

Teacher: “THAT was a normal piece of paper. You weren’t supposed to taste anything.”

(The class burst out laughing, while Student #1, who was obviously lying, became slightly red and sheepish. The teacher then handed out the slips of paper ACTUALLY infused with PTC, which was extremely bitter and made several students rush to the water fountain.)

A Propensity For Density

, , , , | Learning | June 4, 2017

(We are in physics class, talking about refraction. There is a group of kids in the class that tend to be disruptive and loud, but the teacher ignores them and focuses on teaching the student who are behaving. She had just set us some questions, and is talking to a student on my table. Our teacher often jokes around.)

Teacher: “So, the more dense an object is, the higher the refractive index.”

Loud Student: *from across the room* “Wait, what are we doing now?”

Teacher: *sigh* “I think that there are some students in here with a very high refractive index.”

(Everyone on my table laughed, and the loud student looked at us, confused.)

Pure Headache

, , , , | Learning | May 30, 2017

(I’m in A-level chemistry, and we’re making paracetamol (Tylenol) in our lab. My lab partner and I have completed all the steps and now have a small pile of white powder on a watch glass. Our teacher notices and comes over to talk to us about the write up.)

Teacher: “So you need to make sure you’ve written down all your values as accurately as possible, to work out how much you should have made, so you can compare it to how much you actually made.”

Partner: “How do we know how much we’ve actually made?”

Teacher: “Well, you just weigh it.”

Partner: “No, but how do we know it’s pure? It could just be chalk for all we know.”

Me: “I have a headache; I could eat some and see if it goes away?”

(I didn’t, nor did I plan to, eat any of it, but as my teacher pointed out, my answer technically wasn’t wrong, just ill-advised. Our next lesson was about calculating purity from melting points.)

Weekly Roundup: Math Counts!

, | Not Always Right | Right | June 16, 2013

Weekly Roundup: Math Counts! In this week’s roundup, we share five stories where math skills don’t add up!

  1. Equivalence, Meet Ignorance (5,254 thumbs up)
  2. The Count Would Be Proud (2,508 thumbs up)
  3. Adventures In The Third Dimension, Part 2 (1,571 thumbs up)
  4. Those Heathens And Their Time-Telling Ways (2,368 thumbs up)
  5. Don’t Count Out The Cost Of Education (1,181 thumbs up)

PS #1: check out our Extras section, with pictures, videos, and news!

PS #2: Read more roundups here!

Weekly Roundup: Weird Science

, | Not Always Right | Right | October 21, 2012

Weird Science! In this week’s roundup, we feature customers with a weird (or non-existent) comprehension of science!

  1. The Building Block(heads) Of Life (5,628 thumbs up)
    A brainless bookstore customer gets a crash course in Chemistry 101!
  2. Magnetic Lines Of Farce (3,127 thumbs up)
    This credit card customer doesn’t quite understand the “attraction” of magnetic stripes.
  3. A Heated Topic (3,870 thumbs up)
    A restaurant patron gets into a heated argument with an employee over the warmth of the sun!
  4. Science, Stripped Down To A Soundbite (2,031 thumbs up)
    Explaining condensation and temperature? It’s wasted on customers who just want a “watered”-down explanation.
  5. Can’t Keep A Good Waitress Down (4,038 thumbs up)
    A waitress gets a tip for giving a customer tips on gravity!

PS #1: check out our new Extras section, with pictures, videos, and news galore!

PS #2: Read more roundups here!

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