Saturday, April 09, 2011


In my freshmen oral English class, we have been practicing using different occupation vocabulary and argument skills by doing an activity called Save Humanity:  Going to Mars.  There is an epidemic on earth and the last healthy survivors are in the classroom.  We built a rocket and have to choose seven people to go to Mars to save humanity.

The students always pick the surgeon, the scientist, the engineer, and the construction worker.  They also never pick all males or all females.  There are always at least two females where one is in her late twenties and the other is 40 years old.

After each group decides on their seven people, I always ask, "So how many babies will your seven people be able to have to help humans survive for the next generation?"

Students reply, "One baby."
Some will be braver and will reply with a larger number, "Five babies."
Even the group who picked four females to go to mars only replied, "Eight babies."

Rarely do they say twenty or more babies where a female could have a baby every 1-2 years.

I tell the students, "With so few babies, when the older generation dies, there will be fewer people than you started with.  Plus if you only have one baby how will that baby have more children?"

I then ask, "At what age will a woman not be able to have babies anymore?"

I get answers all over the map, "35 years old!  40!  45!  65!"

In my mind, I am thinking, "Wow...Interesting."

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