Friday, September 23, 2011

Lab Quote Friday- Thermometers

Sometimes the simplest things cause the students the most trouble.  Take thermometers for instance.  Sometimes we use temperature probes hooked up to a computer, but for simple experiments we just use good ol' mercury thermometers.  You know, the glass rod containing mercury with a temperature scale printed on it?

Well, it's sad to say, but students no longer understand such simple tools.  We had 5, yes 5, groups using their thermometers while they were still in the protective tubes this week.  I have to admit that I love seeing the looks on their faces as I walk by and say, "Make sure you take the thermometer OUT of the case to get an accurate reading."  It's quite hilarious!  They'll often say, "I knew something wasn't right."  Yeah right, you had no idea!
But this week I overheard a comment regarding thermometers that I have never heard before.
Lab boy (getting quite frustrated):  I just can NOT read this thermometer!  How am I supposed to read this thing?  Where is the red light?  Isn't it supposed to have a read light?  I don't see it!
I have no idea what red light he was looking for, but it was pretty funny.  His lab partner eventually saw the mercury line and all was right with the world.  Crazy how a simple thermometer can frustrate these tech savvy kids!
*On a nerdy side note, only one thermometer broke this week (which is way less than normal) and I got to use a new mercury clean up tool I bought.  Yes, I was excited about it and it worked great.  One of the professors is now calling me Mercury Queen :)

I have other stories from this week, but I'm going to save them for weeks when I am lacking good material. Here's the freshman story I alluded to last week.  It doesn't involve the lab, but you might enjoy it anyway.

Freshman (clearly lost and getting frantic):  I am never going to find this class on time!!  I don't know where this room is!
Me:  Can I help you find something?
Freshman:  I am looking for room 135.
Me:  Um, that room doesn't exist in this building.  Are you sure about the room number?
Freshman:  Oh!  Maybe it's 185.
Me:  Well, that's the Pchem lab, so that's probably not right either.  Can you pull up your schedule so we can make sure you're in the right building?  What class are you looking for?
Freshman (pulling out his iPhone to look up his schedule):  It's calculus class.  
Me:  Ok, you're in the right building, but you need to go upstairs.  Did you find the room number?
Freshman:  It's 205!!  The course number is 185.
Me:  Well, that makes sense.  Room 205 is upstairs at the front of the building.
Freshman:  Thanks.  Yep, I'm a freshman, just your typical freshman.
Me (thinking):  You said it, not me!

1 comment:

Amanda said...

crazy tech-saavy kids that can't read a thermometer! : )

I had a girl in my Earth Science class this past week who refused to read a graph and figure out the time scale at the bottom...1:31 and 1:32 was marked with little marks in between. after i refused to tell her what the little marks met, she begrudingly counted and figured out that every little mark was for 10 seconds. ugh!