Friday, October 5, 2012

Harms of the "No Pizza" Status Quo...

Did you know there really are some harms in NOT having your Challenge I tutor bring you pizza for lunch every Tuesday?  It's true.  And they would be very convincing, too, if they weren't completely ridiculous.  But it was the resolution for the first practice debate for my Classical Conversations Challenge I class.  

Resolved: 
Challenge I tutors {that's me!} should serve their Challenge I class pizza for lunch every week.

Now, if you're familiar with debate format, then you know that the job of the affirmative team is to give convincing "harms to the status quo" ~ the status quo being that I DO NOT bring them pizza for lunch every week.

It took them a few moments to get the hang of this, but boy, did they finally get the idea!  Here were the "harms" they came up with:

  • Weight Loss ~  We will lose weight and then in a survival/starvation situation be predisposed to DEATH.
  • Stress for Large Families ~ Large families are used to very specific routines.  Remembering to NOT to pack a lunch on Tuesdays may cause them undue stress. {Doubtful...}
  • Cheese Causes Creativity ~ Eating lots of cheese gives you weird dreams. If we don't get a good dose of cheese each week, then we won't have weird dreams.  Weird dreams make you more creative, and creativity, of course, helps you in school. {Guess who came up with this one?  My kid, that's who.}
  • Social Awkwardness/Disadvantages ~ If we don't eat pizza every week, then we might forget what pizza is, and be unable to relate well to our peers and others in the current culture. {And everybody knows homeschoolers don't need any more accusations of social awkwardness!}
  • Alaskans Will Freeze ~ It is cold in Alaska.  If the Challenge I kids there don't eat warm, cheesy pizza every week, they might develop hypothermia and freeze to death. {I think this is my favorite.}
  • Under-Stimulated Imagination/Decision Making Skills ~ If our Challenge I tutor does not ask us what type of pizza we would like each week, then we may lose the ability to use our imaginations and make decisions. {Teenagers have to make THE most difficult daily decisions.}
  • Bacterial Infections ~ Food made in non-commercial, unregulated kitchens is more susceptible to bacteria.  Pizza made at Dominoes, etc, will keep us healthier and disease-free. {Don't even get me started on this one...}
  • Economic Downturn ~ Money spent each week on pizza will stimulate the economy.  If no pizza is bought, stocks will go down. {They are also competing in a stock market game and REALLY do not want their stocks to go down!}
  • Violence and Possible Murder ~ If pizza is not provided for all Challenge I students, and then one student just happens to bring pizza in their own lunch, violent, jealous feelings may arise.  Murder is a potential outcome. {Oh my! Hopefully the Holy Spirit would prevail here!}

Well, as ludicrous as these "harms" are, I was quite tickled and very impressed with their clever responses.  I was really left with no other choice than to order them pizza at the end of the day.  Thank goodness Dominoes now does gluten free. That meant that even Cooper got delivery pizza that day!
 Since then, they've gone on to write an "affirmative constructive" for a death penalty debate, and now they are gearing up for their first team debate in front of an audience and judges.  The topic is euthanasia, which also happens to be a ballot question in Massachusetts next month.  This is a very sharp and passionate group of students, and I can hardly wait to hear their arguments for and against this hot button issue.

Physical Science is another of our weekly "seminars" and includes lots of experiments like sending an electrical current through water and "seeing" water molecules split and bubbles of hydrogen and oxygen gas resulting.  Oh ~ and copper hydroxycarbonate {the blue stuff} forming on one of the wires.
 Below, Cameron is observing a weakening and eventually extinguished flame, because fire can't exist without oxygen.  We also caught oxygen in a balloon {from a yeast and vinegar reaction} and carefully slipped the opening under the glass jar, released the gas, and watched the flame burn brighter ~ so please don't smoke in hospitals!
 Ryan {below}is experimenting with what happens when a bottle of cold air{from sitting in ice water} with a balloon attached is then placed in a bowl of hot water.  Wow! Molecules move really fast when they are heated up ~ so fast that they are constantly banging against the sides of the bottle and balloon causing the balloon to inflate. The prior cold air had caused the balloon to collapse on itself and even be sucked into the bottle, so this was quite a visible change!

 Did you know that water has many interesting properties such as polarity and cohesion.  On Tuesday we completed four experiments that demonstrated these properties.  How many drops of water will hold together on the face of a penny?  Cooper got 92 drops to "stick" together on his ~ the highest of all attempts.
It was like a huge bubble sitting on top!

 Jesse is holding secure two test tubes ~ each of which was filled with water and are now filling with hydrogen and oxygen gas over the negative and positive terminals {respectively} of a 9-volt battery submerged in a water and Epsom salt solution. Based on your knowledge of the chemical formula for water, which test tube do you think filled up first? {Hint: H2O means there are TWO hydrogen atoms but only one oxygen...}
Besides Debate and Physical Science, our day is filled with 5 other "seminars" ~ Latin, Algebra 1 and 2 {half do 1 and half do 2}, Economics, American Literature, and Drama/Shakespeare.  After reading either The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain or An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott in American Literature last week, their assignment was to write a similar "familiar" story of their own.  Rachel {above}volunteered to read hers aloud, but could hardly get through it, as it was about a talking, diabetic grapefruit and a professional ventriloquist.  I'm not sure how "familiar" it was, but she gets a lot of points for creativity and humor.

It is a challenge for these students to accomplish the weekly workload required for this class, and it is also a challenge for me to prepare to instruct these very sharp kids! {I have literally had repetitive dreams about 3rd declension i-stems in Latin as well as 3rd declension Latin adjectives ~ which also have i-stems. Sigh.} But it is SUCH a joy to work with these very intelligent, respectful, humble, kind, and fun-loving kids, and I couldn't be more pleased that Cooper gets to have a full class of such positive peers in this his sophomore year of high school!

Would you believe that he arranged to meet with his debate team today for two hours at a Barnes and Noble equidistant from everyone's home in order to get some extra work done on the euthanasia debate? {They are scattered all over western MA and NH!}  He even created a Facebook page especially for this purpose.  I'd say that the Classical Conversations Challenge program provides a "harm to the status quo" of complacent, unmotivated teens, and I'm happy to spring for the pizza and lattes in that case!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

What kind of pizza did you order? Yum! Love, K&J

Cinnamon said...

It's been so long since I've come here as I seem to catch up with you on FB more. Seems like even when I do visit I just read and not comment. But I didn't come here to tell you my woes.... :-)....but just comment and say I love your teaching style!! Such energy and fun.

We've done the drops on a penny before with my older ones. I'll have to try that with my younger ones. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement to keep things fun.

~Cinnamon

Melanie said...

Hello K&J ~ We ordered pepperoni pizza for all! Even Coop got his personal gluten free Dominoes pizza!

And Hi Cinnamon! I think Facebook keeps me from blogging as much as I used to. LIFE seems to be keeping me from blogging, too. But thanks for keeping in touch anyway! Hope you guys are well. Loved the HATS photo!