Do we want to teach or train our students?

Hi reader(s), today we are going to talk about whether we want our schools to be staffed with teachers or trainers. Let’s start with some definitions to make sure we can understand one another. To train is to form by instruction, discipline, or drill; to make prepared (as by exercise) for a test of skill. To teach is to guide the studies of; to impart knowledge of; to instruct by precept, example, or experience. (definitions from Merriam-Webster online dictionary) Note that these definitions do overlap significantly (each causes or helps their pupils to learn), but the largest difference is the goal or endpoint. The goal of a teacher is to have their student acquire knowledge, but also to use that knowledge to gain or construct new knowledge. The trainer’s goal is to help their student acquire knowledge or skills to address a specific task or set of tasks.
I want to make an important point here, I am not attempting to say that training is more important than teaching or vice versa. I taught mostly science and math classes and depending on the subject for any given day, I would lean more towards trainer or teacher. For example, I would train my students to use a microscope, or to identify organisms they see in the microscope; but I would teach them about how those organisms live and why they are important to us. I assume a good trainer does some teaching, but more training, and a good teacher does some training, but more teaching.
So, the actual question comes down to, do we want our public school teachers to be teachers or trainers. There is a case for either, but I think we need to decide which we prefer and push our schools more towards that goal. We may also decide that we want the teachers in certain areas to function more as trainers, and other areas to function more as teachers. I am not sure I have the perfect answer to this part of the question, but I do think we need to ask it and really think about our answer. The problem right now is that we are drifting strongly in one direction and I don’t think many people have really stopped and thought about if we should be doing so.
Which brings us to high stakes testing and No Child Left Behind. The goal of NCLB is to make sure all students who have finished, say a chemistry course, understand certain concepts and have gained certain skills. This is a laudable goal which I completely support. The secondary goal of making sure all students are getting taught the same general concepts and skills by a competent teacher is also important and laudable. Our system right now is to give our teachers a list of objectives for the students, and the students a large, mostly pass-fail test at the end of the class. While we can and should argue about both the specific objectives and the questions on the test, it is still a pretty good way to accomplish the first goal. But it is a horrible way to accomplish the second goal. The idea, which sounds like common sense at first glance, is that a teacher’s skill or effectiveness is determined by what percentage of their students pass the final test. It makes sense right, if most of the students pass the test, then the teacher taught them the material. I replaced a teacher that had 100% of his students pass their end of course exams. Over my years at the same school, only about 95% of my students passed their end of course exam. So he is the better teacher, right? Here is the thing, he was fired for incompetence after one year because so many of his students asked to transfer out of his class, and many of the remaining students used a tutor to pass. Over the years I taught, almost none of my students needed to transfer or use a tutor to pass, even though we opened up the course to a more diverse group of students (i.e. not just the high achievers).
Remember those definitions, a teacher guides learning and imparts knowledge while a trainer forms by instruction, discipline, or drill for a test of skill. Which of those definitions does having as many students as possible pass an end of course exam sound like. It sounds like a trainer, doesn’t it? And therein lies the problem, we are grading our teachers on how good they are at training students to pass an exam, not on how effective they are in helping students to learn and grow. If you test the students before a class and assess their level of learning, then again at the end of the class you see how much the teacher helped to guide each student and how much information they acquired (if the test is done properly, that is). Since most of the students start at different places on the educational ladder, and can climb at different paces it is a much better measure of teaching skill to see how far they climb, not if they reach a certain rung by the end of your time together.
So I will leave my (our) discussion at this point. Do we want teachers that help students progress as much as they are capable of each year, or do we want trainers who push as many students over a certain barrier each year.


Where you intelligently designed?

Where you intelligently designed? This should be an easy question to answer, but politics and stubbornness has made the answer much more complex. I hope to reduce that complexity in this essay.
The first problem is that many religious people have made the assumption that the theory of evolution rules out the possibility of a creator or designer, and thus refuse to listen. A subset of these people have then tried to create scientific theories to replace evolution. But, without truly understanding how scientific inquiry works, they make mistakes. So the first thing we need to is set aside the question of whether a creator exists and focus on the question of what a scientific theory entails. Many writers at this point would prefer to define their terms, but I will not. First I want to give you an example to explain what I mean, then I will give you the preferred term. The form of this example comes from my experience teaching biology classes.
To start, I want you to think back to when you were a teenager. Most likely, your parents gave you a curfew, and warned you that you would be in serious trouble if failed to return home on time. Then you hear about a great concert that you want to attend, but there is no way to go without breaking curfew. A smart choice might be to ask your parents for permission (yes, I am a parent) but you are afraid they will say no. So you have to choose whether the concert is worth the punishment (which is unknown at this point). You consider what sort of consequences your parents have given you in the past, usually a stern lecture and being grounded for a few weeks. A grounding might be worth it, but are you sure that they will not give you something worse. You are beginning the scientific method at this point; you have asked a question (What is likely to happen if I break my curfew) and proposed an answer (a stern lecture and being grounded). The next step is to come up with a way to test your thoughts. So you put your idea into the form of an if-then statement, which makes designing a test easier. If I come home after curfew, then my parents will lecture and then ground me. You have created a hypothesis which can be tested. In this case the test is pretty easy – come home late. If you get a lecture and grounded, your hypothesis is probably correct. However, if you don’t get grounded, your hypothesis was definitely incorrect and must be changed. Now, no self respecting scientist will declare a hypothesis proven until they have tested it multiple times and in multiple ways if possible. But in this scenario multiple tests would likely produce progressively harsher punishments, so we will pretend that one grounding is enough to confirm your hypothesis. The next step, after confirming your hypothesis is to rephrase it from an if-then to a when-then statement. When I come home after curfew, then I am going to be grounded. This would be called a law. A law is a summary of many observations which allows you to predict the outcome of future trials. Having a law is good, but your curiosity is not satisfied yet. You are still wondering what causes your parents to ground you. Are they doing it because they are angry that you broke their arbitrary rules? Or maybe because they afraid for your safety when they don’t know where you are late at night? So you generate a second hypothesis, if my parents ground me, it is because they are afraid for my safety late at night. (Okay, that hypothesis shows I am a parent.) How do we test this hypothesis? Stay out a few minutes past curfew, then call with a reason for being late and show your parents that you are safe. If your parents don’t ground you, then your hypothesis is supported (likely to be true), but if you are still grounded then your hypothesis probably false. Let’s assume your parents do what I would, thank-you for being responsible, offer to help, and not ground you. And again we will cheat and let one trial suffice. You can now state your results in the form of a when-then, because statement like this: When I miss curfew, then my parents will ground me because they were afraid of me getting hurt. This is a theory. It contains the law (when-then) and an explanation of why the law is correct (because . . .).
Hopefully you can see that to a scientist, a theory is considered to be more confirmed than a law. Both the law and it’s explanation are tested (extensively) and confirmed in all of the tests. This is a very important point, even though it is common to think scientific laws are more important than theories, it is in fact, just the opposite. Before a theory is accepted both parts of it must be tested extensively and verified. Before Darwin proposed his theory of evolution publicly he spent more than 25 years collecting observations all of which supported it. And it took many years further, before the scientific community fully accepted his theory.
From the above discussion you should also be able to see that testing a hypothesis is the most critical step in the scientific method. No hypothesis can be accepted as a law or theory until it is thoroughly tested. Which brings us to the second problem with a hypothesis like intelligent design – it cannot be tested. No hypothesis involving a supernatural being (whether you call it a God, a Creator, or a Designer) can ever be truly tested. The supernatural being is above or beyond the laws of nature. You can design a test, but the supernatural being always gets to choose whether it will participate. Thus you cannot trust the results of your test. In fact the only thing you can test is whether the influence of a supernatural being is necessary for something to happen. For example, the theory of evolution explains how a single species can evolve into multiple species after it is split into several groups, each in a differing environment and no longer interbreeding (and this has been tested in a lab as well as demonstrated in nature). Which does not prove that a designer isn’t participating in the evolutionary process, only that a designer isn’t necessary for evolution to occur through natural laws.
That is why intelligent design is neither scientific, nor a theory. The only prediction it makes is a supernatural being set creation in motion, a prediction that cannot be tested. If that being decides to reveal themself, it is a true hypothesis, but it wasn’t scientific. And since tests can only show certain processes don’t require the active participation of a designer, intelligent design can never move from hypothesis to theory. At this point at least one of my students would always point out that I haven’t proven intelligent design to be false, and they are generally surprised to find that I completely agree with them. No person can prove intelligent design to be true or false, therefore it is not science – it is religion or faith (belief without proof.)
So back to that original question, are we the product of intelligent design? The only possible answer is, maybe. It is simply a question of faith.

Are you a member of the Tribe?

Today, I watched a football game (Washington at Chicago). I don’t watch football much anymore. Between the amount of injuries and the number of games that seem to be decided by the referee’s judgement instead of the players’ skills, football just doesn’t seem to be all that interesting anymore. But, I used to really love the game. As a teenager, I played nearly every day and watched both pro and college games whenever I could get control of the TV. My favorite team was the Washington Redskins, which was our local team. They were usually pretty good, and had some great characters. Art Monk and Darrell Green were two my favorites. I didn’t really think about the team name, despite being part Choctaw. It had always just been there.

Now, whenever I watch one of their games, one of the things I think about is how to view the team’s name. Is Redskins offensive? My short answer is that depends upon the context of when it is used. To illustrate, I want to share a couple of anecdotes. The first is an occasion many years ago when I called my frog supplier in Wisconsin to order more frogs for our experiments. He started to explain why they would take a day or two longer than usual and wound up going on a several minute rant about how the drunken indian cowards were jealous of his business and slashed his tires just to be mean. He never even seemed to pause for a breath until he asked me something about how much I hated them damn stinkin’ Indians. I answered, yes, we’re just a bunch of drunken liars, aren’t we. He went silent for a few seconds, then asked what tribe was I. Then he told me the Choctaw were fine people, it was the Menominee who were so horrible and was back off on his rant. I found another supplier that afternoon.

The second story is rather embarrassing, but helped me to learn a lesson. I generally ate lunch with a group of women scientists and thought of myself as part of the group. One member of the group got pregnant, and she was not happy about it. She was planning to wait for several years until she had established her career. She decided to have the baby, but complained about every aspect of her pregnancy and how it was affecting her lab work. (At that time tumor cell biologists used a lot of radioactive tracers.) I got tired of her attitude and constant complaining, but kept quiet since I didn’t really want to hurt her feelings or ruin what had been a nice friendship up till that point. Then one day at lunch as she complained of putting weight on her stomach and thighs since she couldn’t work out like before, another luncher suddenly said, “Why don’t you try rubbing vanishing cream on your stomach, maybe the whole thing will vanish?” Which sounds harsh, but she said it in a joking way, so everyone laughed (although I suspect the laughter was more uncomfortable than I realized). Another one of the women chipped in with, “If all else fails, you could try eating a little less.” Finally in a moment of supreme stupidity, I chipped in with, or you could try liposuction. Suddenly, the entire table went silent. Half a dozen very hostile stares turned to me, as my former friend asked if I was suggesting she have an abortion. I tried to stammer out an explanation that she was complaining about fat building up on her stomach and thighs and people were using liposuction to get rid of fat. But finally I just apologized and said that I didn’t mean to be an ass, but that I was. And then I left. The other women from lunch seemed to forgive me, and one even said she understood my frustration with her, but that it was the wrong way to say it. I thanked her, said she was right, and started eating lunch at my desk and reading papers. It was easier that way.

So where am I going with this? Well, many of you may remember a comedian named Jeff Foxworthy. His act included jokes like, “If you think loading the dishwasher means getting your wife drunk, you might be a redneck.” Foxworthy told those jokes in a southern accent, wearing jeans and boots, and implying that he was describing some of his family members or friends. In other words, the jokes were about his tribe (or group) so they are somewhat self-deprecating and funny. But imagine someone like Mitt Romney telling the same joke in public. It would come off as an insult because he is clearly not a member of the redneck tribe. Although, I don’t think of myself as native american most of the time, when I hear someone insulting native americans I get angry. And even though I thought of my lunch friends as accepting me, I am not a woman and saying something that could be insulting to all women pissed them off because – I was not a member of the tribe.

So, is the Redskins name offensive? It really does depend upon who says it, and when they say it. If a reservation school uses Redskins as a team name that is no different than the Fighting Irish or Ragin’ Cajuns. It is group of people basically naming the team for themselves in a humorous way. But if you are not a member of the tribe, it is likely to come across as an insult. Even if you think it is a compliment, and that you are using the name to show how you respect the strength and courage of Native Americans, it isn’t. Because you aren’t a member of the tribe and any potential insult is not self-deprecating.

Personally, I would suggest to Dan Snyder that he change the name of his team to something like the Washington Warriors. It’s not perfect, but at the least Warriors doesn’t have the negative baggage and would allow him to keep some of the Native American imagery without it being an automatic insult. Better yet, have several mascots and bring in imagery of all military people in America. Have your charitable foundation develop scholarships available to both Native American children and Military Veterans’ children. Talk about how the team name honors all the warriors, both the Native Americans and the American military. Then we are all members of your tribe, and can proudly support the team if we so choose.

Dr. Carson, Evolution is Real, and you know it.

Dear Ben Carson:
Here is how evolution works. When we define a species, what we are really doing is describing the most common traits that appear in that species. However, not all of most common traits appear in all of the members of the species. So, while it sound like we are describing an average member of the species, what we are really describing is a combination of the most common traits in a population, not a particular individual.

Rabbits come in lots of sizes, shapes, and colors.

Rabbits come in lots of sizes, shapes, and colors.

For example, do a image search for wild rabbits. Most of the pictures will have long ears, black eyes, a similar shaped head and body with very powerful hind legs. They will have tan, grey, white, brown, and even blackish fur in some sort of combination. But when you look closer, some will have longer ears than others, some will have larger or smaller bodies, and the color schemes will vary pretty widely. (And that is just a superficial features.) It is pretty clear that there is significant variation in the traits of a rabbit, even before humans started selectively breeding them for specific traits.
Let us assume we have a colony of rabbits living on the edge of a grassy meadow with some woody brush. The rabbits with tan/grey/white mottled color scheme may have an advantage since they blend in with prevailing colors. The rabbits with darker browns, obvious white tails, or bluish greys will not do as well. However, that does not mean they will disappear, just that they will be less common. Other traits will have similar distributions, larger ears may help the rabbits to hear danger, but too large ears will make them more visible. Even behavioral traits will be distributed throughout the colony. A rabbit with the combination of speed and size may thrive even if doesn’t stay under cover as much, while the smaller or slower rabbit may need to blend into it’s surroundings more thoroughly.
But, for some reason the colony has move into denser woods, or the woods overgrow their meadow. Now the rabbits with blueish greys will blend into the twilight, or darker browns may blend into the trees and gain an advantage. So over a few generations there will be more babies born to the parents who have this sort of coloration and less to the lighter tan and white colors. Or perhaps the longer ears will now be more helpful as the predators will have to move through trees instead of lie in wait in tall grass. So there may be more rabbits with longer ears, but once again it there will be a distribution of ear sizes, color schemes, and other factors. The way we would describe the average rabbit has changed, and yet the traits found in the colony are still essentially the same. Just the number of rabbits showing each trait has changed.
Scientists refer to this as micro-evolution and all but the most ardent anti-evolutionists agree this is common, and that all species drift in this way.
So now we’ll take the next step. Our original of colony of meadow rabbits has done well, and is getting to be too large to support itself. So several of the stronger members of the colony will take part of the colony and leave. One group of the rabbits go into the denser woods as we described before, and some of the rabbits continue on towards the snow line. The most common traits will be found in all three smaller colonies, but the less common traits may or may not be present in each of the groups. The population of rabbits which moves toward the snow line will find itself in an environment more similar to the original meadow for part of the year, but with more snow and less food the rest of the year. The rabbits with lighter tans and white splotches will be harder to see, while the darker rabbits have a harder time foraging for food safely. Due to the cold, rabbits with smaller ears and feet may fare better as they loose less body heat, and animals with smaller bodies may have an easier time burrowing deeper and surviving the leaner, colder winters. These rabbits who are less active or sleep most of the winter may also become more common. The females who only come into heat in the late winter early spring may help their offspring to survive more readily. In short, they are still rabbits, but are beginning to look and behave differently than the rabbits who remained in the original meadow, or stopped in the denser forest.
Meanwhile, the rabbits of the forest colony have continued to get darker and larger. They have plenty of food year round, are able to dig smaller warrens in the tree roots and continue breeding even in the winter months. The rabbits that eat different plants and are able to blend into the forest become the most common members of their colony. In short, they are still rabbits but look and behave differently than the rabbits near the snow line. The gene pools of all three colonies are still pretty similar but the frequencies of the genes have changed. And now that they are no longer interbreeding each population will have its own mutations and the frequency of certain traits is low enough to go nearly unnoticed. By this time, a person classifying the rabbits would likely list each as a different species, based on the behavioral and physical differences and the fact they do not interbreed in nature. The original species of meadow rabbits has split into three species, each of which may flourish or go extinct on its own.
So that idea of one species evolving into another species is not exactly what is happening in nature. One species, for whatever reason splits into several populations, and each population continues to micro-evolve to better fit into its environment. If the populations become isolated enough to stop interbreeding, each population may become a new species as it changes to better fit into its environment. From a distance, (especially if the original species goes extinct) it may appear like one species evolved into another, but the real process is just simply micro-evolution of several populations, each in its own direction.
Thus, if you accept the evidence and acknowledge that micro-evolution exists, you are acknowledging that macro-evolution (a.k.a. speciation) exists since it is the same process. And amazingly enough, there is no real need for an intelligent designer or magical creator. It doesn’t rule out the existence of one, but it does rule out the need for one.

It doesn’t really matter if you believe in climate change, but carrying capacity is real and we need to think about what we are doing to the earth.

Imagine for minute a field with grass, clover and lots of other plants rabbits like to eat. Then a few rabbits come into the field, and since they have plenty of food, the rabbits will happily move in, set up a community and breed. Now imagine that once the rabbits enter the field they cannot leave. And since rabbits, like all species, reproduce faster than they die of natural causes, the population of rabbits will grow. At some point the rabbit population will grow so large that they will begin to destroy their field. Their waste will begin to poison the streams, they will eat too many of the plants, and they will begin to suffer greatly. Some of the rabbits will be killed in fights over food or water, or some will die of starvation or exposure. Eventually the rabbit population will be reduced enough for the plants to come back, and at some point the rabbits and plants will reach a balance where there are not too many of either to survive. But in the meantime the individual rabbits will suffer a great deal.
Biologists call this steady-state (or equilibrium) the carrying capacity of an environment. Adding predators, competing species, or other food sources can change the size of the carrying capacity, but there is a finite carrying capacity for every environment. In the example above, the field is the Earth, and we are the rabbits. We have not reached the Earth’s carrying capacity yet, but we are approaching it. You can tell that we are getting closer by the way we are contaminating our environment. Pollution is one symptom, there are floating piles of garbage in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Climate change is another symptom, the waste from our energy usage is beginning to build up and change the long term energy dynamics of the planet. We haven’t reached our ability to extract food and energy from the Earth, nor have we reached the Earth’s ability to cope with our waste, but we are starting to stress it. Despite our great ability to build tools to enlarge the Earth’s carrying capacity, and even mitigate the damage our waste products do, this trend cannot go on forever.
There are two ways to avoid reaching the Earth’s carrying capacity; either reduce our rate of reproduction, or reduce our rate of consumption and production of waste. I find it hard to believe that either solution will work by itself, but that some combination of reducing our consumption of energy and production of waste combined with a slower population growth may push the crisis of reaching the earth’s carrying capacity far into the future. The sad truth is that people only have one major predator – other people. So we either need to find a way to avoid reaching the earth’s carrying capacity, or we will be fighting over more and more scarce resources and we will reduce our population in the worst way imaginable, by killing each other.

NCLB turns us into trainers

a group of Santa's Elves

Picture yourself as one of these guys.

I want you to imagine for a moment that you are one of Santa’s helpers. You don’t make the toys yourself, but you lead a small group of elves who make the toys. Although most elves enjoy their toy making, not all of them do. Some elves prefer to spend their time playing reindeer games on their x-box, watching and talking about the real penguins of the south pole, and even a few prefer to drink hot chocolate and tease other elves. So some elves, like you, supervise and encourage the slacker toy elves. In the good old days you did your best with each elf and tried to get the most toys out of each elf. But then Santa came up with his No Elven Lazy Butts (NELB) initiative which created strict quotas for each elf and judged the fore-elves by what percentage of their worker elves made their quota. In a perfect world, every elf wants to make toys and this would be easy. But since the world is not perfect, Santa decided to put some rewards and punishments into NELB. For the toy makers, if they make quota they get to move on to more fun toys. For the fore-elves if a certain percentage of worker elves make quota they get candy canes and get a pat on the back. However, if the fore-elves don’t have a high enough quota rate, they get warnings, then they get a consultant elf to come in and tell them how to do their job, and finally they lose their candy canes and are sent out to clean the reindeer stables. While there are other ways to get candy canes, the consultant elves and reindeer poop are both pretty disgusting and best avoided. So you really want your toy elves to make their quotas. Unfortunately, there are pretty strict limits on what you can do to motivate your elves, you can’t get rid of them for not doing their job, and you can’t actually help them make their toys, only show them how. Also Santa in his finite wisdom decided that the percentage of toy elves that make quota most increase each year until you reach 100%.
Suddenly that reindeer poop begins to loom large. And that is when your life becomes more about avoiding the poop and less about making the most toys. After studying the system some elves realize that there is no advantage to having their best workers make more toys and begin to focus primarily on the slackers. They also realize that the toys don’t have to perfect, so they begin to train their elves to make passable toys, not great toys. And they teach their elves tricks to make the toys faster, even if they aren’t really good. A few elves even get so desperate they cheat and make it look like their slackers are making quota when they really aren’t.
My experiences as a public school teacher suggest to me that we are moving through this process now. We are training our students to pass their end of course exams rather than teaching every student to be their best. When I started teaching, I tried my best to teach to all levels, giving the basic concepts and some more difficult concepts. That gave the best students some challenges, without failing out everyone else. But then my administrators began have us try to make our exams more like the state exams, watch for students in danger of failing, and tailor lessons to their needs. I actually wound up taking some of the more interesting and difficult items out of my curriculum to focus more on training students to pass their exams. I heard other teachers make jokes about not teaching anything but what was on the test. And the students are getting it as well. I have heard multiple students make comments about how easy it is to pass (depending on the class, 55% correct will be a passing grade) but very difficult to reach the advanced level (generally about 90%) so why put in any extra effort.
So NCLB has pushed teachers towards being trainers. To avoid being punished, we train students in the areas that are likely to be tested, ignoring other areas. We focus very much on the students who are less motivated or less able, to get them over the bar and into the next class. And we spend time teaching students how to take tests rather than how learn and use the material in the course. In short we train them to pass, not teach them to learn, think, or excel.

Surprisingly good

I started eating a green smoothie for one meal a day (or every other day) about 2 weeks ago. I was not completely excited about trying this, but I have gained nearly 40 lbs since the migraines became too bad for me to be active and I didn’t see any end in sight. And they do seem to be working, I lost about 10 lbs quickly, gained a little bit back, and now am slowly losing again. What has surprised me is how much I like the taste of these things. Each ingredient sounds good to me, but the thought of putting them all together in one drink sounded pretty disgusting. But I was wrong, they are actually quite good.

After reading multiple blogs and recipes I settled on a pretty generic recipe.

  • 1 cup of fresh greens
  • 1 cup of yogurt + whole milk (approx. half of each)
  • 1/2 cup raw, rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp of oil or fat
  • 1 chilled banana
  • 3/4 cup of other chilled fruit

The greens can be baby spinach, kale, or broccoli, the yogurt plain or vanilla, the fat can be any nut butter or olive oil. My first smoothie was spinach, peanut butter and blueberries. Most of the flavor came from the peanut butter and banana and it was quite good. Then I tried kale. I should have known better as I don’t like cabbage and kale smells like a worse version of cabbage (to me). I barely got that one down, although many people seem to love kale. I plan on leaving it to those who love it, and sticking with spinach. This morning’s smoothie is perhaps the best I have ever made. Baby spinach, with vanilla yogurt, olive oil, and freshly pitted cherries.

The business end of an immersion blender

The business end of an immersion blender

I have also found a little trick that really makes cleaning up much easier. I make the smoothie in a wide mouth, quart mason jar. I put the yogurt in the bottom, add the spinach and chop/blend them using an immersion blender. Then I add the other ingredients one by one chopping each into the mixture . This recipe fills the jar about 3/4 full. I never really measure anything carefully so it is mostly just dumping things in the jar and chopping them into the mixture. By putting the banana and fruit in the freezer a few minutes before starting everything is nice and cold without any ice. Then I clean the immersion blender and rubber spatula before I even start drinking. That just leaves the mason jar which is easy and can be cleaned in the dishwasher if I am feeling lazy. I like to cook and bake, but sometimes simple really is best.