Tuesday, September 26, 2023

I Baked Cookies For My Students

A while back, I wrote an article on how to impress upon the students of the need have units in most of the numbers that they write in physics. I gave them a recipe for a banana bread, but I left out all the units of measure. It was the students themselves who noticed what was wrong with the recipe, so in the process, I managed to convey to them that (i) without units, these numbers are meaningless and (ii) this is not just something in physics (or science) but rather something common that we encounter and take for granted.

Over the Summer, I did the same thing but I showed them a recipe for my often-requested Chewy Oatmeal Cranberry cookies. Same reaction. But the difference happened at the end of the arduous and intense 8-week summer session. On the 2nd to last day of the class (last day was the final exam), after we did our review, I showed them again the cookie recipe and asked them if they remembered why I was showing them the recipe. All of them did.

I then whipped out a container that had the very same cookies, from the recipe, that I had baked the day before. Oh yeah, they were pleasantly surprised! We basically came full circle, and had a lovely time the last 15 minutes of class time as we sat around chatting and munching on the cookies. Even the coffee machine was nearby and a few of us got some coffee to go along with the cookies.

It was a wonderful end to the class, in my opinion. I am considering this Fall semester if I want to do that again. I just might, if I can find the time.