Sunday, June 27, 2010

Keeping it real: biology hooks for sophomores

Jorge Posada does it! Moises Alou did it, too!
"Steroids? Growth hormone? Is he on the juice?"
Nope--they both pee on their hands to keep them ready for baseball!

A see one of my athletes slouch in the back, sheepish grin on his face--"yeah, I do it, too..." He'll regret admitting that until he goes away to college.

Not only that, back in the olden days, when I was a kid, some mothers wiped their babies' faces with a wet diaper.
"Like wet from pee?"
"That's GROSS!"
And then I talk about urea--a simple compound, really, and the major one in urine (besides water). I draw the structure on the board, pause, then ask if anyone else in class rubs urea on their skin.
"Dr. Doyle, STOP!"
I ask them if they have any skin softeners--and, of course, everybody does, rubbing emollients onto your skin during class has superseded knuckle-cracking.

Look at the ingredients.

And then I wait for it; in a moment is comes....

Sometimes followed by a bottle of lotion flying across the room. Yes, that fancy bottle of skin softener has urea in it. I let the children fathom where it came from....


Sue VanHattum said...

I was laughing so hard everyone in the house wanted to know what I was reading. Thanks for the biology lesson.

That's how they used to (still?) tan leather, right?

Unknown said...


This is part of why I am both excited and terrified about teaching science next year.