The above-captured image is a portion of my final report card from 3rd grade. If you look under Social Sciences, you will see that I did very well with “Mystery Powders”. As funny as this piece of history is, I feel somewhat compelled to explain the story behind it as I remember this particular class project very vividly. Plus, it occurred to me that some readers might wonder if I was snorting lines of coke or dumping speed into my beverages throughout the day. I’ve done none of those things.
My 3rd grade teacher set up an experiment where she would pair people off into groups in order to determine what a group of “mystery powders” was. There were 4 or 5 small piles laid out for each group. As memory serves, we were to write down our observations of each powder. Colour, odour, and taste.
At the end of the experiment she would get a group leader to read out their findings and have people guess what each powder was. She would then write out what it was on the chalkboard. Most of the powders were things that many of us recognized such as baking soda, and flour.
The final powder was one no one could guess despite a large discussion of what the powder could be. Barely able to contain herself, the teacher wrote;
Plaster of Paris
I remember the class erupting into gales of laughter. I am fairly certain I was the only one in the room that did not know what the hell Plaster of Paris was. I found out a few days later from my Grandfather…….
It is possible that no teacher in the world would get away with conducting such an experiment today where they would use something that is probably not safe to taste. Still I reflect rather fondly on this particular experiment as one can easily remember times when they were surrounded with heavy laughter. Some of those memories are often the best.
Although leaving this photo to the imagination of the reader would have given off a comedic aspect all its’ own.