Sunday, October 2, 2016

Science like caramel.

I've solved the problem for teaching students the holy grail of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, the Fab Four known to their friends as STEM.

We keep hearing that our students are not studying these lucrative topics in the numbers we need to supply our high-tech industries.


It's one reason that companies like Disney are forced---against their will, really!---to bring in foreign workers under the H-1B visa program and pay them less than the Americans who had the jobs before. (Wait, what...?)

Well, while all these discussion is going on, we're working on training Nipper, the new puppy. Nipper is very, very, very, very,* very motivated by treats. As was Tralfaz, the older boy. So, you start them learning things with rewards, and then over time you vary when you give them, and then you can stop with the treats. We were talking about how well Ferocious N is doing with the training.

And that's when I got my great idea.

Treats!

What would motivate a kid better than treats? Ace the quiz? Treat! Nail the report? Treat! Solve a stack of quadratic equations? Ice cream sundae!

Would've motivated me!

Here's the problem---we're used to giving kids stuff for no reason. Dogs in training have to earn their treats. The kids will have to also. So no going out for ice cream "just because." No cookies and cake for "birthdays." No candy for "holidays." You want the goodies, kids, you gotta make the grade.

One objection is that this will exacerbate the childhood obesity menace in this country. Well, most kids aren't that bright. Only the smart ones will get fat. And then they'll be able to make lots of money for personal trainers and Jenny Craig.

Another objection is that it teaches kids that achievement = sweets, that when they get out on their own they will just reward themselves like a rat pressing the lever in a pleasure reward box. I say: They do that now. Those Doritos ads are not targeted toward my demo, you know. By keeping the treats completely off-limits without accomplishments until the kids are 18, they'll at least have a chance to grow up without being addicted to the stuff. And then they can go get fat on their own, but it won't be the parents' fault.

The parents are the key here. All families have to follow the standards that will be set down, no exceptions, or this won't work the way it does with puppies. Nipper can't go out and bargain for treats with the dogs up the block, or ride a bike down to the treat store. Believe me, he would if he could. No, every adult in America has to get on this bandwagon. How hard can it be?

So that's the drill, kids: You want the caramel, you learn the science. Then, progress!

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*very, very
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