SOUTHAVEN – A local science teacher wrapping up a unit on ecology Friday was astonished to discover a major gap in the ongoing records of organism growth in his classroom. A personal investigation followed until a conclusion could be drawn.
“I reached into 3rd period’s homework bin, and the stack was way too little. My finger and thumb were almost touching,” said James Comans, an 8th grade science teacher at Desoto Central. “I could tell some homework was missing. I looked around the room at my students, but I couldn’t find a sign of completed homework on any of their faces. That’s when I decided to investigate.”
According to Comans, homework fills a vital niche in the classroom ecosystem.
“First I thought about it in terms of population imbalance. Maybe there were too many consumer jocks feeding off of the work of the smart kids. You’ve got to have a lot of producers to support that kind of thing.”
“Or perhaps it had to do with tropic levels. Maybe there was just not enough energy in the room to sustain homework productivity that high. Eighth graders are pretty lazy, ya know.”
“The more I looked into the situation, the more other bizarre phenomena I found. Had nothing to do with the homework problem. For instance, I’m seeing tons of tiny white spheres that test positive for paper and saliva. My handout decomposers must be booming. And would you look at some of the gossip on these notes being passed around? Hoo boy! It’s eat or be eaten, in middle school these days.”
In the end, Comans says the culprits throwing the homework balance out of whack seem to be family pets.
“Dogs eating homework. Crazy, I know! But they all are saying it, so it must be true,” says Comans, “what am I supposed to do? Go house to house checking for dogs?”
“Besides, I’m way too busy right now. I’ve got to get to the bottom of where the pencils are walking off to, who started “it,” and why they have to know all this stuff.”
2010 MISSISSIPPI SCIENCE FRAMEWORK
CONTENT STRAND: LIFE SCIENCE: Compare and contrast the structure and functions of the cell, levels of organization of living things, basis of heredity, and adaptations that explain variations in populations.
Objective 3e. Explain energy flow in a specified ecosystem. Populations, communities, and habitats; Niches, ecosystems and biomes;Producers, consumers and decomposers in an ecosystem.