Will This Be on the Test?

…or “How to Lose a Class in Ten Games”
First posted 09/24/10

It’s Friday – time to teach!

The lecture feels like it’s going very slow until I get to a fun example. For some reason, it isn’t quite the example I remember planning, but the students have fun with it anyway.

“How many people own an elephant.”

They know it’s a joke, so some of them raise their hands to be funny. I count them and write the number down.

“How many people own an umbrella?”

In the class a few students quietly laugh and sing part of that strange “um-ber-ella-ella-ella-eh-eh-eh” song. Some raise their hands and I write that number down.

“How many people own a Nintendo DS?”

“What’s a DS?” a girl in the front row asks. I’m shocked. I wish that I had brought mine with me, but I know I left it at home so that it wouldn’t be a distraction.

I try a bit to explain it and it looks like a lot of people in the class don’t know what it is. “What, do you all buy Sony and Microsoft games or something?” I ask. A few people get excited about certain X-Box and Playstation games. I roll my eyes and push a button to bring down the projector screen. Another button reveals a Wii.

“I’m going to show you why Nintendo is so awesome.”

I don’t recognize the game that shows up, but I play it anyway and it’s fun. I think I’ve only played about 5 minutes. Other gamers are definitely interested, but I’ve lost all my serious students.

I check the time – we’ve gone five minutes over! “I guess there’s only time for a five minute quiz,” I say, which is alright. I can cut the quiz down to five minutes.

But everyone has to leave, so there’s no quiz anyway. “I don’t understand,” I say, “I only played that game, like, five minutes!” Somehow the rest of the lecture must have taken four times longer than it should have.

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