Adventures in Comparatives and Superlatives…

I love teaching Chapter 10. It’s the last chapter in the book, and signifies we’re on the home stretch towards the end of the semester, but that’s not why I love it. I love watching my students react as I use my Canadian growing-up place, and Seoul to illustrate comparative sentence structures. First, I show them the picture of Seoul. Then , I show them the picture of Brockville. After a few rounds of examples like “Brockville is cleaner than Seoul.” “Seoul is more interesting than Brockville.” Eventually some bright young thing hits on “Seoul is more crowded than Brockville.” This is my cue to introduce a few interesting demographics. It goes something like this:

“Which is more crowded: Seoul or Brockville?” I ask, just to be sure.
“Seoul,” reply my students, thinking that perhaps, since it’s the last chapter, they can get away without a complete sentence.
“Seoooooul….. iiiissssss…” I prompt, flapping my arms like a duck in my best please complete the sentence mime.
“Seoul is more crowded than Brockville,” comes the grudging reply, putting me and my gesticulating appendages out of our misery.
“Hmmm, ” say I, in a thoughtful way. “Which is more crowded: China or Korea?”
“CHINA!” Shout my students, with confidence.
“Really? Are you sure?” I ask doubtfully.
I flash my nifty demographic chart up on the screen, and wait for the squinty-eyed looks of confusion to appear. [please note: the squinty-eyed reference is to paint a mental picture of my students squinting at the screen to make sure they’re seeing the numbers correctly, and has absolutely nothing to do with Asian facial features.] If they have learned nothing else all semester, my students did learn that Korea is more crowded than China. They’re shocked.

Here’s the scoop:
Korea has 485 people / km2
China has 135 people / km2
Canada has 3 people / km2

I show them the pictures of Seoul and Brockville again. I show them that there are no people in the picture in Brockville. I remind them that the picture was taken right smack in the middle of downtown Brockville. They laugh. Then I give them some homework and send them on their way.

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3 thoughts on “

  1. Hey, you got me! When the top picture started loading, I thought “Hey, that looks like Brockville!” Then I wondered where in Korea you’d taken the picture. Then I looked at it a bit more and felt really stupid. If I were smart, would I be telling everyone about it?

  2. If it makes you feel any better, when I put the pictures up on the screen, one of my classes didn’t know the picture of Seoul was really Korea. I was getting guesses that it was a Korea-town in New York or LA. Nevermind that the Seoul Tower is in the background.

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