From Katharine Beals‘ book, Raising a Left-Brain Child in a Right-Brain World, comes the story of a middle-school boy named Josh who tells his father, Ben, that he hates his highly regarded math-science magnet school.
Ben pulls out several sheets and pages through: “Design a Playground,” “Decorate a Tissue Box,” Construct a Diorama.”
“That’s a lot of art homework,” remarks Ben. “What about your other subjects.”
“Dad, that’s the point,” yells Josh. “These are for my other subjects.”
“Which ones?” Ben pages back through. Everywhere the same phrases keep popping up: “Be colorful.” “Be creative.”
“All of them. “Math, English, German . . . The tissue box is for German.”
Ben looks again: “Decorate a box of tissues with German words, drawings, etc. Pick the vocabulary from chapters 1 or 2, and use those words to decorate your box of tissues. Put the number of the chapter you’ve chosen on your box also.”
. . . Ben turns to the next page: “Construct a diorama illustrating the climactic scene of your novel.”
“That’s for English,” Josh says. “The playground’s for math. That last sheet is for science.” He reaches for the folder, pulls out one more page, and hands it to Ben: “Write a three-page paper that includes a description of a movie, television show, or a book that involves a scientific concept, a summary of the scientific concept, and an explanation of the relationship between the actual concept and how it is used in the movie, television show, or book.”
Josh dislikes arts and crafts and is not big on writing. He likes math and science.
The German tissue box assignment seems to have been created by a teacher with a shortage of tissue paper.
Via Catherine Johnson of Kitchen Table Math.