Could This be the Most Violent High School Test Question Ever?


I realise that the teacher involved was more than likely aiming to engage his class with an edgy test question. Whilst I understand the motives and agree with the intentions behind the question, the question itself is totally crude and unacceptable:

The fate of Florida science teacher Dean Liptak is unclear as parents express concern over violent test questions that involve propelling students and driving over babies.

According to WTSP, the Fivay High School teacher in Hudson, Fla., assigned test questions like:

“A 50 kg student has a momentum of 500 kg m/s as the teacher launches him toward the wall, what is the velocity of the student heading toward the wall?”“A northbound car with a velocity of 100 m/s ran over a baby with a momentum of 800 kg m/s, what is the mass of the car?”

Parents tell WTSP that the test questions are “violent” and “inappropriate.” School officials have not disclosed the teacher’s status at the school.

Liptak has been teaching in Pasco County Schools for several years and recently moved to Fivay from Ridgewood High School. His students at Ridgewood had positive reviews of his teaching on One student calls him the “best teacher in the world.”


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One Response to “Could This be the Most Violent High School Test Question Ever?”

  1. John Tapscott Says:

    I see this as an unfortunate attempt by a keen teacher to render an irrelevant, and pedagogically unsound state mandated syllabus meaningful to his students.

    I recently had occasion, as a relief teacher, to supervise students doing a Math assessment task from the state mandated syllabus. As it was an assessment task, I did not feel I could help them in any way except perhaps to explain the instructions.

    The task required knowledge of co-ordinate geometry and Pythagoras’ theorem. Observing the class at work (?) it appeared more than half of them would have been lucky to have had a passing acquaintance with either. Furthermore the context of the problem posed would have had precisely no relevance to these students, some of whom considered detachable parts of mathematical instruments were meant to be missiles and others that reading a magazine would give them the answer they needed, and others simply sat as if stunned. I was relieved when the period was over. I should have taught them something commensurate and appropriate to the actual stage of mathematical understanding they had attained.

    Such is the futility of state mandated syllabuses. Doesn’t it make more sense to start teaching children from the level they attained and not from some irrelevant document catering to the mythological average. There is no such thing as an average student. Each is unique. We need to know how they are unique, and how they are intelligent or we are wasting our time and theirs.

    What do others think?

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