A total Mockery

Back after half term and the 6th form, Year 12s and 13s alike, are neck deep in Mock exams. What joy. I quite like all the extra free time when, for about the only time in the entire year, I almost feel I’m in control. Doesn’t last long – suddenly the actual papers arrive and it’s my turn to be neck deep in the damn things, marking, and then writing reports. You all know the routine.

So, not a lot of teaching this week either. A fun session with my Year 8s today, analysing various ores (I really like teaching Chemistry!), some sex education with my Year 7s yesterday, using Herbie the hamster as a sort of approachably neutral route into male reproductive anatomy.

So, this hamster, is it a boy or a girl? And how can you tell?

A hamster’s testes are about the size of its head, so they’re hard to miss.

So, what does he need those for?

We revise sperm, eggs, fertilisation, and then look at some testis slides under the microscope – they do lovely drawings of the tubules and most of them actually see the sperm in the central tubes.

But if Herbie wants children, where do all those sperm (forming at 1,500 per second!) need to get to?

And so on.

Alas, my plan to illustrate the topic with breeding hamsters has failed, due to Hettie’s Xmas mishap, followed by Emily’s mysterious demise. The best laid plans of hamsters and men….

Right, back to the Mock marking. Normal service will be resumed at some point!


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