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Students' Questions and Answers

As teachers and tutors, we need to be ready for any question or answer we receive from students. This is due to several factors, including, among other things, learning difficulties, inattention, unfamiliarity with the subject, material missed during an absence, or student playfulness. Therefore, we have to be understanding and patient, using the occasion as a teaching opportunity. In the following story, how should Mr. Parks react?

Family Membership

Mr. Parks is the Biology teacher at Brown County High School. One day in Botany class he held up a jar of Pedro's Taco Salt, showing the front label to the class.

"What is this?" he asked

"Taco salt."

"Let's see what's in it?"

Mr. Parks turned the jar and read from the back label. As he spoke, the ingredients appeared on a screen. "The ingredients are 'salt, dried red and green bell peppers, granulated sun-dried tomatoes, celery, parsley, cilantro, onion powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, and silica to prevent caking.' All natural, I see."

Mr. Parks set the jar down then addressed the class, "You will notice that all but two of the ingredients come from plants." Using a laser pointer, he highlighted ingredients on the screen "The peppers, tomatoes and cayenne are members of solanaceae, the nightshade family. The celery, parsley, cilantro and cumin are members of umbelliferae, the parsley family. And the onion and garlic are from liliaceae, the lily family. Any questions?"

A hand shot up.

"Yes, Tom. What is your question?"

"What family is the salt from?"