Brain Game: R.I.P. Pluto

The astronomy instructor offered to give extra credit to eight students - Jack, Jane, Jeff, Jess, Jill, Jodi, John, and Judy - if they'd help the rest of the class learn about the Solar System. Each student would choose one planet - Earth, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Neptune Saturn, Uranus, or Venus - and write a special report to be presented in front of the class.

Based on the following clues - and feel free to do online research as necessary to figure out the clues - determine which student chose which planet for his or her report. Good luck!

Clue 1 = The name of Jess' planet ends with an "S."

Clue 2 = Jane's planet is smaller than Venus.

Clue 3 = Jack's planet lies just beyond the Asteroid Belt.

Clue 4 = The orbit of Judy's planet is smaller than Earth's orbit.

Clue 5 = Jill's planet lies further from the Sun than any other.

Clue 6 = Jeff's planet has multiple moons.

Clue 7 = Jodi's planet is widely known as "the Red Planet."

Here is the SOLUTION.


Jack chose Jupiter;
Jane chose Mercury;
Jeff chose Saturn;
Jess chose Uranus;
Jill chose Neptune;
Jodi chose Mars;
John chose Earth; and
Judy chose Venus.

College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy

One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

North America: East or West Coast?


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