Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 17 Sep 2015.
The Back to Basics movement in the U.S. likes to emphasize the teaching of only Reading, Writing and Arithmetic as harkening back to early American education’s curriculum. By the early 1900’s, however, Science, History, Geography and Music were also taught. Today I’m going to share with you Elsie Johnson, my husband’s maternal grandmother’s 8th grade end of year Indiana state assessment in science. Evidently, the area of physiology was the curriculum focus.
In middle school today, physiology is a part of both science and health. The exam questions were glued to the upper left hand corner of the exam:
Elsie’s answer to question 1 about smoking is: “Tobacco dulls the mind and it affect the beating of the heart.” Wow! I always heard that the dangers of smoking were not known until the 1960’s. I remember when cigarette television commercials were banned. The tunes were so catchy we used to play “Cigarette Tag” as children during recess. Someone was IT and IT chased all the players. When a player was tagged the player had to sing a commercial cigarette jingle. Jingles couldn’t be repeated. If the player couldn’t think of an original jingle than that player became IT. Those songs are still stuck in my head! “Winston tastes good like a (boom, boom) cigarette should,” “I’d walk a mile for a Camel,” and Virginia Slims “You’ve come a long way baby, to get where you got to today.” I never smoked so clearly the advertising didn’t win me over.
I’m not sure how Elsie received a 100% as she skipped answering question 2 about narcotics, which I really would have enjoyed reading. Sadly, these problems still exist and we still teach the dangers in school today.
I have not included a chapter test on the skeleton which we also have. Interestingly, the chapter test is in the same format as the end of year exam. That’s important as the students were well aware of how the material would be presented and had practiced the format throughout the year. Today, our students are taken to a computer lab to complete their end of course exams. It’s the only time of the year that exams are given in that format which INMHO influences their score. Next time we’ll take a look at Geography.