We have been studying photosynthesis and cellular respiration now for three weeks.
Every day for this period of time we have looked at, gone over, worked with and discussed the formulas, both word and chemical description, for both of these topics. They aren't hard because they happen to be opposite reactions so if you know one, you can figure out the other. We have done everything outside of tattooing this information on their foreheads.
We gave our unit test on Friday and two of the questions asked the students to write out both of these equations. Maybe about 75% even tried. Out of that group, maybe 10% got them close to correct.
I shouldn't be amazed (but I still am) how many kids looked surprised that they needed to know this. This, despite me telling them every single day that they needed to have these formulas memorized both for the unit test and even more importantly for the state assessment at the end of the year.
My favorite, however, is the kid (and there's usually at least one in each class) who will walk in on the day of the test and act completely surprised and stunned that there is a test. I suppose the fact that it's been written on the whiteboard for a week, that they should have been writing it in their agenda for a week, and that we went over the study guide and reviewed it, aren't big enough clues to the fact that there's a test.
I can only hope that they will eventually grow up, mature, and start to care about their futures.