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Cylinder, Sphere, Cube, Prism

The girl child came home with homework the other day.

"Cut and paste the shape to the correct word. Then describe," it said. Right, sounds easy enough.

Cylinder she got right off, Sphere... no problem.

Cube... easy stuff.

Prism.....

.....

.....

Well obviously it's the last one left but how do you describe it?

"A 3-D shape that's not a cube, a cylinder or a sphere." I said, feeling quite whitty.

Ralexwin rolls his eyes and hands me the dictionary.

a polyhedron with two congruent and parallel faces and whose lateral faces are parallelograms

*cannwin bangs head against table*

"Honey, I don't know what that just said. What's a parallelogram!?"

"Look it up." He says, his faith in the power of the dictionary never failing.

a quadrilateral whose opposite sides are both parallel and equal in length

*more head banging*

"What the hecks a quadrilateral!?"

He ignores me as he forages for food. Our friend Melissa walks in.

"What's a prism?" The girl child and I ask.

She pauses.

"This is what the dictionary says..."

"It's a parallelogram?" She asks confused.

"You know what a parallelogram is?" I ask.

"Yeah, a shape with parallel sides."

"Oh, right." I say a bit sarcastically, "why didn't I think of that."

"But I thought a pyramid was considered a prism..." She muses.

Girl child is getting impatient. "What do I write!?"

"A 3-D shape that's not a sphere, cylinder or cube." I say again.

"But that's not right." Melissa and Ralexwin chime in, "because according to that definition a cube is a prism."

"Okay... A 3-D shape that has sides that don't touch."

Girl child writes that down.

"Let me see your notebook," I say.

"Why?"

"So I can write your teacher a note."

It just took 3 adults (2 law students and 1 also a civil engineer) and a dictionary ten minutes to figure out what a prism was.
"I think my teacher will see your note and say, 'It's not that hard.'" She supplies.

"Well, you can tell your teacher I never took geometry." I respond.

"You never took geometry?" Melissa asks.

"Nope."

"How did you graduate high school?"

"I'm not entirely sure sometimes."

Comments

Mrs. Miniver said…
I hate that kind of homework. I helped my daughter one time and the next day i went in to volunteer at school and the teacher had me correct papers. The answer I had helped my daughter with was wrong! But after I realized that about 98% of the kids got that answer wrong I felt better about it.
I really like your Mandela quote at the bottom of the page.
You've given me a new favorite song too. "Don't Let Go" Great song!
cannwin said…
I love that song too. It's actually from the 'Spirit' soundtrack. Now I think I'm going to have to listen to it.

It makes me feel so dumb when my first grader comes home with homework that I don't know the answers to. Like possessive plural apostrophe's. I wanted to scream.

I'm glad I'm not the only one then.
Sara Crandall said…
I'm right there with you! I went into Megan's class and they were working on geometry and I caught myself not grading homework but listening intently and thinking to myself...why don't I know this....I should do 3rd grade again!
Jessica Bair said…
There's been many a time at our house that we can't seem to figure out what to do with the homework. Then when we think we got it right...it comes back wrong.
Cari Hislop said…
I was thinking about your prism question...the only answer to me that makes sense (since the child's about 7)would be to write that a prism is a shaped piece of glass that break up light into a rainbow...remember the homework is supposed to be able to be done by a 7 year old...and prisms come in all sorts of shapes...I think it's one of those anomaly question to make the child think outside the box after being given the normal boxy questions... If you hear back from the teacher do let us know! :)

As for apostrophes I look it up in my dictionary and found something that should cheer you up...

"Many people otherwise competent in writing have great difficulty with the apostrophe, which has never been stable at any point in its history."

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