The Effect Of Boiling Water Changed My Life

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Essay Prompt: Describe a teacher or course assignment that has had the most impact on you and why.

Taking the temperature of boiling water changed my life. It wasn’t until eight years after participating in a simple, yet elegant, marine science lab experiment that I realized its full impact on me. It had infiltrated my life so quietly that the effect had gone completely unnoticed. At least consciously. Unconsciously, as I look back, there were loads of little signs that something was different after that lab class: my thinking became more focused, I was able to anticipate questions and challenges to what I read and wrote, I entertained a variety of perspectives on issues I thought about and discussed without having to be prompted to do
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Did the other groups? Did we all have the same equipment? Had it been calibrated so that everyone started with the same baseline? What about the water itself? Did it all come from the same source? What else could possibly influence the outcome of this experiment? Another hour passed quickly as we discussed hundreds of possibilities for the variations in our recorded results. At the end of our lab session, we were assigned our first 10-page lab report for the term. Ten pages on taking the temperature of boiling water!? How would we manage to get ten pages out of this simple assignment? It turns out that ten pages was conservative. Our lab reports would follow the scientific method: We’d state our hypothesis and the assumptions we had before conducting the experiment; we’d list and describe the procedures followed, step-by-step, including a list of the equipment and other materials used; we’d discuss the collection of data and provide detailed notes of the recordings; and finally, draw some conclusions about the findings. When all was said and done, each of us turned in a ten or more page report that had opened our eyes to the importance of replication of experiments, and to standardization in procedures and equipment to minimize experimental error. Eight years later, as I was waxing nostalgic to a prospective honors student sitting in my office, I recalled that boiling water experiment and
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