Tuesday, April 20, 2004

A bit of metabolism humor

I've spent the last few days grading student lab reports. Here are two funny misstatements about animal metabolism I particularly enjoyed.
  • "Every living organism, including you an I, have a metabolism that is responsible for making sure inadequate energy is being released and consumed so that our bodies can make it through the day." Well, now you finally know why you're so tired. It's your metabolism's fault!

  • "It [Metabolism] is the process by which energy and material are transformed within an organism and exchanged between the orgasm and its environment." I had students taking metabolic rate measurements for a full lab period all week? Thank goodness no administrators walked in ...

On the plus side it seemed like the lab reports were better than equivalent reports from prior semesters. The common problems were still present in many papers (confused presentation of the question and hypotheses, not discussing multiple hypotheses, incomplete methods, awkward data presentation, non-thorough discussions) but most felt like little journal articles and were overall quite good considering that this was probably the first time they'd written a paper in this style. Maybe spending a whole lab on scientific writing actually did some good ...

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