Sunday, March 30, 2014

How to get to Kentucky.....from Oregon in less than Three Seconds

On every exam I give my college students I insert a "bonus question" (normally worth 2-3 points) somewhere in the exam to ease the tension a bit.  Usually it is a question from a funny YouTube or movie clip. 
Last week, without any good ideas to go with, I settled on this question:
"If you were driving in a car in Oregon, heading west, where would you be immediately upon leaving Oregon?"
About 15 percent of my students correctly wrote, "The Pacific Ocean"
Many left it blank.  Many more should have left it blank.
I got a bunch of Utah, Montana, Washington, Nevada and Idaho answers.  One student picked Alaska.  One picked Arizona.  Then one headed east and picked Iowa.  Not to be outdone, another picked Kentucky.  Then I read "Atlantic Ocean" and gave up hope that our government schools would ever amount to anything more than glorified day care centers for 6-18 year old kids.
When I was in the fifth grade we were required to know every state, where it was located and its capitol.
We had contests every week between each fifth grade class at Eugene Field Elementary School. 
When I was 11 I knew that you could not get to Kentucky upon leaving Oregon heading west and I doggone sure knew that the Atlantic Ocean was a little east of Oregon.
How in the name of Ernest T. Bass are we supposed to know about Crimea, Ukraine and Russia if most students probably think Ukraine is a rare bird that lives on the border of Oregon and Kentucky and that Russia is something you do when you are late for work?
Ernest T. Bass?  Yep.  Enjoy this clip from The Andy Griffith Show.  My students are like this guy.


  1. Ha ha....only some of them Professor Chambless are like Ernest, not all of us! :)

  2. Wow, that is a face palm to the forehead momment