Friday, March 13, 2009
In The News -- 1986
I was going through old newspapers at the library and came across this article published in the newspaper on April 21, 1986. It illustrates a problem in our modern society. Tell me what you think.
Teacher Fools Students With Metric Time Hoax
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – Dave Bourland’s science class may question everything he has to say for the rest of the school year, but that was the purpose of a weeklong scientific spoof.
Bourland told his ninth-grade general science students at Libby High School last week that they would have to send their watches and calendars to the state capital for conversion when the United States switched to a “metric time system.”
The system would mean that clock faces would be changed to all 10s, hours would have 100 minutes and there would be only 10 hours of daylight and 10 months in the year, Bourland told the class. Students who were born in July or August would have their birthdays canceled, he said.
Bourland devised the scenario to instill a spirit of scientific skepticism in his students. But he was dismayed that no one questioned his statements, even when he told them that the change would mean their summer vacations would be reduced to 20 days.
“No one actually sat down with a pencil and tried to figure it out,” Bourland said Friday. “No one came up with the fact that it would not have worked.
“They don’t think. That’s the biggest thing educators are fighting against,” he said. “They said that some question crossed their mind, but they didn’t ask the questions. And I wouldn’t have had an answer.”
Bourland finally told the students Wednesday that he’d been fibbing.
"They definitely learned a great deal from this,” he said. “In fact, I told them I was calling (The Associated Press) and they said, ‘Prove it.’”
The students were not the only ones fooled: Some parents called the school to ask when metric time would begin.