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Need instructional hours? It’s in the bag

1/16/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Craig Marks

On the Mark — By Craig Marks

Dear Snowbound Student:

If you are reading this, it means you have opened the “Blizzard Bag.” You have opened it for one of two reasons — your school is closed due to the weather, or you mistakenly believed the Blizzard Bag contained someone’s order from Dairy Queen.

But no, the Blizzard Bag holds no frozen dessert. In the bag are school assignments for you to do at home until the snowstorm/deep freeze/volcanic eruption passes. Be assured this is not busy work. (If you want to talk “busy work,” ask a teacher about the Common Core forms they’re required to fill out. You’ll get an earful.)

Starting in the 2014-15 school year, many Ohio schools will handle snow days differently. Rather than having an allotted number of “calamity days,” there will be a set number of instructional hours the students will be required to have. As long as you reach the desired number of hours — whether while sitting inside a classroom or chilling inside your house — you’re golden.

So that’s where the bag comes in. Please complete as many assignments as you can, and don’t forget to show your work.

  • A loaf of bread costs $2.50. The last loaf of bread at a store closing due to a blizzard is worth its weight in gold. For how much would you need to resell it to achieve a 500 percent profit?
  • The concept of “relative measurement”: When you look at your driveway, you see 5 inches of snow, but the plowing service from which you purchased a seasonal contract says there’s barely a trace. Explain the contradiction.
  • In size 7 shoes, how many steps would it take to track slush onto every space of a 20-by-30-foot family room floor?
  • The forecaster says there’s an 80 percent chance of heavy snow tomorrow, which means there’s a 50 percent chance that schools will be closed and you won’t have to take the mid-term, which is 35 percent of your semester grade. Calculate.
  • Your father tells you that snow days were different when he was a kid. He’d be stuck in a house with only five TV channels to watch, no texting or Facebook and the only videogames were absurdly primitive. Write for him a short musical piece on the world’s smallest violin.
  • Your phone’s battery lasts 4.25 hours. If you binge-watch “90210” on your freshly charged phone, will it conk out before getting to the episode where Silver’s house party goes horribly awry?
  • Practice the song “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round Provided the Bus Starts, Which in This Weather Is No Sure Thing.”
  • Estimate how many times it takes seeing the Spitzer car commercial — the one where potential buyers wear angry cardboard masks — before it begins invading your dreams.

Good luck with the assignments. And please remember to track your hours as you’re tracking in the slush.

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