Last fall, when BTH & I found out that we would be adopting, I negotiated a parental leave agreement for this semester that involved me teaching just one class — organic chemistry — instead of my usual load. I would take two weeks completely off when the baby arrived, during which time a colleague (who is also my Dean) would teach the class. For the once-a-week three hour lab component of the class, I would attend the first half-hour and get the students going, after which my Dean would “babysit” the students for the rest of the course.
Yesterday afternoon, for their Lab Final, I gave my students an assignment to use the chemical knowledge that they have developed over the past two years of studying chemistry to a) extract pigments from spinach, raspberries, and blackberries and b) use those pigments to dye hard-boiled eggs. I told them that I wanted to see pretty pictures of the results in their lab reports.
My Dean joked that instead of taking pictures, they should show me the eggs by hiding them in my office — with each student’s grade being dependent upon how cleverly they hid their eggs.
This morning, I walked into my office and saw this:
I burst out laughing. They actually DID it!
The rest of my morning was lost to finding the rest of the eggs:
I remembered that there had been sixteen eggs, but after I found these fourteen, I searched and searched all over my office and just could not find the last two.
When I went to class, my students were amused at my tale of how they had caused me to thoroughly waste my morning. They told me where to find the fifteenth egg:
The sixteenth egg wasn’t actually in my office. It was still in the lab because the student was trying to intensify the color by soaking it overnight in the dyebath he had prepared. He went and got it, to complete the set:
The eggs dyed with the natural pigments really quite nicely, especially the ones dyed with the blackberry pigment mixture. The really brightly colored eggs, however, were done with standard food coloring, which we keep in the lab for a handful of lower-level experiments.
I love my OChem students (and my boss)!