Thursday, November 13, 2008

There once was a bouncer named the cell membrane

We have moved on from parts of the microscopes and are now looking through them. Onion cells and cheek cells are much more interesting. After looking at some slides we began talking about the cell itself and what it is made up of.
Cell membrane, nucleus, cytoplasm, chloroplats....any of it ring a bell?

Me: "Ok class, I want you to draw a circle like this on your notes" I go on to draw a cirlce on the board.
"This is called the cell membrane. Have you heard of that word before?"

The class responded with yes and no answers.
Me: "ok lets all say it together. Cell membrane."

class: "cell membrane"

Me: "Raise your hand if you can tell me what the cell membrane does."

Kevin: "It holds the cell together."

Me: "Im looking for something else." I search the room for other hands. "Ok it's new information so I will just tell you. The cell membrane controls what goes in and out of a cell."

I got blank stares. I thought to myself...QUICK! hurry up and come up with an example that relates. umm. ummm. ummmmmm.

"s-sssorta like a bouncer!" I blurted out! without thinking like word vomit. then looked around the room in shock that it actually came out of my mouth and then I silently mouthed to myself "what?"

Class: "AHHHHHH! yeah like a bouncer!!"

I hestiantly go on with my example. They seemed to be getting it.
Me: "Right! just like a bouncer stands at the door of a club and allows some people to go in and tells you 12 year olds you can't go in, the cell membrane does the same!"

The class responded in excitement and I swear the room got brighter with all the lightbulbs that switched on in their tiny little heads.

John: "So what does it allow in and out?"

Me: "well it allows nutrients in and waste to go out"

John: "So does it allow the illegal immigrants in?"

He asked in the most serious face possible. The class and I bursted our smiles into a full blown laughter and he kept his face as straight as possible. As a teacher I didnt know how to respond. Was he for real? If so I can't publicly laugh at his question! The laughter went on and he didnt crack a smile. Then the laughter reached an awkward lull.

Me: "Umm, what do you mean John?"
John: "I mean does it allow the waste to pass freely in and out or are their restrictions?"

..........ummmmmmmmmm....what do I do?!? The class is busting out laughing and my student just made a stereotypical racists comment. double you-tee-eff?

Me: "well there will be no illegal immigrants passing to and from a cell. Infact there will be no people at all, because cells are microscopic and we need a microscope to see them"

That shut him up.

So lets recap on Taylor's teaching strategies
1. I make them wear their lab coats when we aren't doing practical work
2. I make them sing and dance to High School Musical around the room.
3. I said the word "knobbie" when referring to the focusing knob on the microscope which really means penis.
4. I compare the cell membrane to a BOUNCER!


1 comment:

JP said...

I wish you had been my biology teacher!!!