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Chicken Pox Virus Life Cycle

  1. Mar 21, 2017 #1
    On Monday, I was given back my last biology test. Upon looking at one of the questions that I got wrong, I was unable to understand what I did wrong. I attempted to argue my case to my teacher, but she did not think about my arguments before denying them. The question is as follows:

    One week after babysitting a child with chicken pox, Steve notices that he has a rash and fever. Being a biology student, Steve realizes three things about chicken pox. ... The second has to do with how the chicken pox reproduces itself ... What did Steve come to understand about the points above? (points 1 and 3 were whether chicken pox is a virus and the type of nucleic acid it contains)

    I answered that the life cycle of the chicken pox virus is the lytic cycle, as Steve is infected with symptoms relatively quickly. My teacher marked this as incorrect, and said that it was the lysogenic cycle in this case as the symptoms came about "One week after..." I tried to tell her that that one week period was an incubation period, as no virus (at least from what I know) shows symptoms as soon as someone is infected. She told me that the lytic cycle is impossible in this case, as cells reproduce too quickly for it to take a week for symptoms to appear. I kindly reminded her that she said cells reproduce (on average) every 12-24 hours, but she seemed to ignore this. I also explained that on an earlier assignment, where we had to research a virus, smallpox (the virus I was assigned) had an incubation period of 2 weeks, but it still followed the lytic cycle. She still didn't take that into consideration. Who is correct, and, if I am, what is another way that I could argue this?

    P.S. This test question was an attempt at applying our knowledge; we received no prior information about chicken pox specifically - only viruses in general.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 22, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    My suggestion is to choose your battles wisely.

    You might win this one if you are correct but lose at the bigger issue of having the teacher on your side when you need a recommendation for college or for some other questionable answer.

    Remember Authority always wins:

    The best way to approach this is to never argue with authority "as authority always wins" (from the song by John Melloncamp)

    Here's some references to consider, in the first one they say its a lytic cycle and instead of arguing you could present it by showing the teacher and asking how you can know how to answer it correctly in the future.

    Be aware that a good teacher will readily admit the mistake and fix the issue but also there's a real need for a teacher to maintain control especially when a students starts to "argue" about a grade. I'm sure your teacher is very good as he/she did teach you the facts you needed to argue your case and now its up to you to navigate the complexity of the human psyche to find common ground.

    Whether you win or lose is not the issue, what you really want is the respect and admiration of the teacher much more and if you don't then you have already lost more than just points on a problem and you'll be dogged by this into adult life. (heavy talk)

    In closing, I knew a student who was a straight A student not just straight A's but perfect scores of 100's on every test. When he found the teacher made a mistake he would pose his argument as a question and lead the teacher to the correct answer. This tact always amazed every teacher he had. You can do the same but it takes work.




    Take care,
  4. Mar 22, 2017 #3
    Thank you very much for the advice and references! I'll be sure to try that tactic tomorrow!
  5. Mar 23, 2017 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    How did it work out with your teacher?
  6. Mar 23, 2017 #5
    It worked out much better than I thought! Originally, I tried employing that new tactic by asking her questions based on her arguments that acted as arguments of my own. Neither me nor my teacher would admit that we were incorrect, so she asked why I was even arguing the mark in the first place. I explained that I thought that losing that mark, which was in a section out of 11, would impact my mark. She then made a deal with me that if my overall grade changed as a result of this mark, she would give it to me, and vice versa. She checked the marking system, and it did, so I ended up getting the mark in an unexpected way I guess!
  7. Mar 23, 2017 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    But did she finally agree that it was lytic?

    I think was a good face saving trick on the teachers part. No teacher wants to set a precedent of changing grades without a reason to go with it. In essence you agreed to disagree. It would be cool if you could check with next years students to see if she finally says it's lytic in class and then you'll the difference you made.

    If you had thought more you could have come up with a great reason to her question where lives depended on knowing whether it was lyric and thus grades have little to do with it. However, you were honest and sincere and that counts a lot.

    I once got a detention, the only one in four years of high school, for a clever answer to a study hall teachers question. I went to sit down at my spot and someone had left a paper plane there so I tossed it to the next table. She rushed over and asked did you just throw that paper plane? And I said yes I was testing the aerodynamic stability of the paper. Detention!

    When my science teacher heard about it he called me in to his class after school with other students to hangout and talk science and then gave me a pass to finish the remaining half hour of detention. I guess he liked my answer and thought her punishment was way too harsh. I had a few great teachers like that and to this day have never forgotten his kindness.

    Overall though you got the outcome you hoped for without too much grief and learned the dark secrets of the teachers psyche. I know you'll do well in the future.
  8. Mar 23, 2017 #7
    Nope, she never admitted it was lytic. She refused to admit that she was incorrect, if the answer was actually lytic (which I thought it was). I don't think she'll change her mind for next year either, she told me to write lysogenic if I ever saw another similar question later in the course. On a side note, that study hall teacher seems overly strict! Anyways, thanks for everything!
  9. Mar 23, 2017 #8


    Staff: Mentor

    It was a buildup of past stuff. I was in the NHS and we could sign ourselves out like senior priveleges. I would sign out as OUT and go to the library or music hall. She didnt like that so the paper plane incident was a good excuse.

    I can understand why now as it was still her responsibility to know where we went in case of emergencies but she never said that and being a teen the logic escapes you.

    She had that attitude of She Who Must Be Obeyed from the H Rider Haggard novel She. A cool story of adventure but I digress...
  10. Mar 24, 2017 #9


    Staff: Mentor

  11. Mar 25, 2017 #10

    Fervent Freyja

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Your teacher was correct. I think that she dealt with your insistence about her (and everyone else) being wrong pretty well. Seems she may be enjoying your interest in her course and appreciated the effort you made!

    I don't think jedishrfu's study hall teacher was that bad. They practiced corporal punishment (and still do) in my school system!
  12. Mar 25, 2017 #11


    Staff: Mentor

    Yes our school used indoctrination and psychological torture administered by the oldest of teachers who were immune to the travails of the young charges they took care of.

    In first grade I was forced to wear glasses. In second grade, I was tortured with learning the recorder and to read music. In third grade, I was once tied to my chair loosely of course in case a fire alarm went off. In fourth grade, I was subject to baseball rules where you got punished when you got three strikes and there were no foul balls and made fearful of smoking after the teacher told us the horror story of her husband and cigarette based cancer. In fifth grade, I had a teacher who favored the girls (My mom had my most of my grade school teachers) and so when things went wrong the boys got punished and the girls got recess.

    In sixth grade, things changed when I had my first male teacher who realized I was being held back in math and reading. He changed the rules and by the end of his grade I was reading at 8th grade level and my math was vastly improved although at the time I didn't know it. He inspired me to get into science and always remembered the gyroscope I got on my first school trip to the NYC American Museum of Natural History and each time he retold the story the gyroscope got more expensive.

    From there I started to like school, except for the scary study hall teachers. I don't even know if they were real teachers or prison guards making a little extra by working at our school. Some tended to emulate the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz movie. Did you know that Margaret Hamilton who played the role was once a teacher? She sometimes regretted the role because it scared so many kids.

    One time in high school, we were forbidden to play the Wff N Proof game because the administration thought we were gambling with trick dice that looked educational. What students would be so devious as to do that?

    We also learned Tengwar from the Hobbit and LoTR and wrote some cool stuff on our book covers about our teachers something you can't do today since I'm sure they can recognize and possibly read it.

    It was a fun time, stupid stuff happened but the drugs weren't there yet only cigarettes, beer and charms candy (sold at school) to sweetened the place up.
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