Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A lesson learned - 15 years later

This is my official shout-out to my high school science teacher, Mr. Merlin Brown.  As a class, we rarely appreciated what he taught us, but now fifteen years later, I am finally recognizing the value of one of his assignments.

In ninth grade Physical Science, we each had to come up with a science fair project and write an actual research paper about it. We'd competed in science fairs since 6th grade - and I'd done pretty well, but we never had to write an official research paper. We just reported what we thought would happen and what did happen. Now, we had to choose a research topic, develop our science fair research question, test it and then write about it. It was hard!

I could now go into detail about my project and how it was the first year I didn't go onto to regional or state; I won't. That's not what this blog is about.

As part of this research paper, we had to make notecards for all the research articles that we read. Then, we were supposed to arrange said notecards into the sections of our report. Sounds smart & logical, right? Well, as 15-year-old procrastinator who wrote her reports the night before (and still got an A), it sounded like work.  A lot of unnecessary work, at that; did Mr. Brown not realize that I had a life? Things to do and people to see - and all that jazz?

Now, fifteen years later as the literary review portion of my thesis-like creative component is staring me in the face, I thought to myself on Saturday, "You know what would make this easy? Note cards!" I have read articles, highlighted them, thought about them - but the information and thoughts kind of evaporated when I didn't think about them for a few days. You know what would "save" that information and keep it in a handy location? Note cards!

So, you know what I'm doing in all of my spare time this week? Writing note cards! (and this blog, apparently) Perhaps the lit review won't seem as daunting now.  When it's all said and done, I'll have Mr. Brown to thank.

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