This posting is a follow up to “The Law of Conservation of Mass: A New Perspective”.
Today at lunch, I got to tell the story conveyed in that earlier post about the incredibly intelligent student who had a hard time understanding the idea of mass. It received the anticipated laughter, but was soon to be topped by one of our chemistry teachers.
She told the story of her first job, teaching an accelerated chemistry class in a school in Naperville. The experiment required students to heat something, and thus a thermometer was required. As my colleague related: this experiment took place in April.
After about 15 minutes, she discovered that one student seemed confused. She approached the student who said that the anticipated temperature change was not forthcoming on the thermometer.
My colleague first suspected that the alcohol column in the thermometer may have been broken (a common problem in alcohol thermometers). Sure enough, the top was cracked.
As my colleague noted this, she also noticed the lack of graduation (the little lines that are used to measure the temperature). That’s when she noticed that the student was using a broken stirring rod to try to measure the temperature.
Which, of course, would not do the job.