Fabricating data

No, this post is not about climate scientists fabricating data to make it look like the earth is warming because they’re not and the earth really is warming. This post is about Daniel’s science homework. He had to perform an experiment which involved observing the difference between evaporation in a sunny spot and evaporation in a shady spot. It seemed to me like a dumb time of year to perform this experiment as nothing much is evaporating outside at all just now. Then there’s the problem of finding some sunlight as the sun goes down not long after we get home from school.

Last week I was stressing about how we were going to do this since we had the weekend trip to Aviemore planned. I wasn’t keen to take science homework with us on our weekend away. So I did a very bad thing and fabricated the results! I explained to Daniel what would happen and told him what to draw and write. Yes, I’m a bad parent. Then I told him not to tell his teacher.

Today he came home with the science book and his teacher has written in it, “Daniel, you were supposed to do the wobbly jelly activity”. Damn! At what age do kids start taking responsibility for their own homework?

22 Replies to “Fabricating data”

      1. That’s what they do. Why do you assume I am implying this is wrong?

        There are several statistical methods of filling in data when none, or only some data are available. Scientists, and others use them. Some of it involves putting in values you expect to be found.

      2. Shub,
        Sorry, are you really expecting me to engage in some kind of discussion? Don’t be ridiculous. That would be a complete and utter waste of my time.

  1. I’m not liking the sound of the wobbly jelly experiment.
    I think it violates your religious beliefs about conducting experiments on jelly, wobbly or not.
    When my daughter was in middle school. she had this crazy teacher who assigned these weekly maps where you had to locate and place themost obscure geographical features in the world county by country. None of the kids could complete these behemouth maps which took 10 or so hours each to do. So the parents started taking it over when the kids could go no further.
    My friend from Brazil was incensed when she got a B- on her map of Brazil. I was royally po’d when I got a B on Africa. I wanted to go challenge the grade and argue, “I was a 4.0 student at UCSD, why are you giving me a B?
    But sadly, I could not.
    Oh, the injustice!
    It still rankles……

    1. The daughter of a colleague of mine used to get very difficult math problems over the Christmas holidays. I wonder how parents who are not natural scientists or mathematicians solve these problems.

      1. Difficult math problems over the Christmas holidays! That’s so mean. Why would they do that?

      2. If you are a scientist, they are really fun to solve, especially if you limit yourself to the methods these children have learned. Like page of Christmas crossword puzzles is some newspapers.

        But I would see it as hindering social mobility, expecting teenagers to solve such puzzles is somewhat optimistic.

    2. Experimenting on wobbly jelly can be dangerous, unless you take appropriate safety precautions.

      Like a large sheet of plastic and easily washable clothes.

  2. hahaha Oh well, you were only trying to help Daniel. šŸ™‚ Teachers can give the most difficult hw that takes soooo long! I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from school!

      1. I know šŸ™‚ But this young age sets them off on the right track, so well worth all the effort šŸ™‚

  3. Damn! At what age do kids start taking responsibility for their own homework?

    Mid-thirties onwards, if in managerial roles.

  4. Sorry ATTP, my earlier reply was not to you.

    Harmless though it may be, isn’t what you did wrong? Maybe you should apologize to the science teacher.

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