Friday, May 09, 2014

Day 14: Does Primetime Need Writers? My Students Are Hatching Plots!

For anyone keeping track, this is Day 14 of a 30-Day Challenge. Thirty days of updates. Counting today's comic, this makes two for today.

Yesterday's "Life Insurance" lesson in Financial Algebra class didn't go -- to use the vernacular -- too, too badly. There were diminishing returns as the day wore on. Basically, period 3 with the co-worker worked better than period 4 solo, when I didn't have another adult to bounce thoughts back and forth. I did my best in period 4 to cover the most crucial topics. But period 7, late in the day, wasn't the time to bore the students with such a topic, especially when it became evident that whatever worksheet I might have had wouldn't be given out. (And it wasn't.)

But the kids did have some interesting questions, many of which I expected, although perhaps not in the way they were presented. There were questions about policies and suicides, which were quickly replaced by hiring someone to kill you or beneficiaries killing the policyholder. Not that they had dollar signs in their eyes -- as I informed them, first they'd have to find someone with a sizable life insurance policy to name them as beneficiary. Then they'd have to make it look like an accident.

Well, I didn't have to tell them that part. Most of them were already planning ways to do just that. And, of course! they'd get away with it! They're teenagers, after all! They know how to do everything! (Except, perhaps, some of the problem in Chapter 8 ... and Chapter 6 ... but I digress.) I think the big unanswered question was, "How would they know?"

They weren't satisfied with, "Trust me, they'd know. They have investigators who seen this sort of thing before." When that didn't convince them, I added, "And you haven't even done this once." (That I know of...) "It's not like you'll get it right the first time. It'll probably take four or five tries to get it to really look like an accident. The problem is dealing with the fallout from the first three or four tries."

I think that convinced them to give up their plans for fraud and murder. One can only hope. My final thoughts on the topic (which I actually repeated when the topic came up the next period and the one after that), check out an episode of Law & Order or Bones or any other criminal show. They just know.

That being said, I think my students could hatch a plot worthy of prime-time, even if it unravels, as all such criminal plots tend to do when the investigators take the case.

But one show they can't write for: when I showed the final slide of my presentation with the Mortality Tables, I introduced it with "Valar Morghulis". Not a comment. Not even from the geekier kids. I had to fall back on another punch line: talking about using life insurance to pay for funeral expenses because they are quite costly, a student asked why cemeteries are so expensive. I couldn't stop myself from telling her: "Cemeteries are crowded and they're very popular.... People are dying to get in."

Oh, yeah. I did.

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