Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Electronic Candlestick

Maintaining classroom order without the open flame and smoke!
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When I was a young lad, my scoutmaster would light a candle at the start of every meeting. He told us “if we would be good and listen during his teaching sessions that he would take us all to get ice-cream when the candle burned down.” If one of us misbehaved that boy would have to blow out the candle thus prolonging the wait for our reward. As I recall, this little incentive worked. We were good and got our ice cream and he was able to teach without interruptions.

Now that I have supposedly grown up and teach a group of boys myself, I was thinking…

How about a device that would allow the same good behavior over time reward system without the flame and smoke? This new electronic gizmo would look like a candlestick inside a candleholder. When turned on, the fake flame at the top would be blinking red and yellow using LEDs or something like that. As the fake flame burns down, the candlestick would reduce its height. When the candle reaches its lowest height, lights would blink and it would play a fanfare to signal to the group that the party is on! There would be a way to set the amount of time for burn down on the bottom of the unit. Setting the unit with a new time would signal the candlestick to extend to maximum height. There would be a wind sensor (maybe a small microphone) near the LEDs so that that if one of the guys misbehaves, he would have to go blow the electronic candle out thus stopping the timer.

I am not sure which category this belongs in?

This idea is still doughy in the middle…any suggestions or comments would be welcomed as usual.

dogzapper, Nov 09 2005

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       Or a clock, which is what it was acting as in the first place. And I will note that, while it might work for weekly meetings like boy scouts, bribing with ice cream ain't gonna work in a school format. The teacher after you will be inheriting kids still on their sugar rush.
DrCurry, Nov 09 2005
  

       I'm trying to control 10-11 year old boys here! Open flames and smoke just ain't going to cut it. Clocks or timers are just boring!
dogzapper, Nov 09 2005
  

       The giant countdown clock that Curry was suggesting would probably work very well indeed if it was wired to the launch detonator on a model rocket. Every interruption would stop the T-minus countdown for a period determined by the instructor, but eventually culminating in the actual launch of a class-built model rocket. For additional incentive, the rocket should be fitted with a payload nose section in which the instructor or group leader can stow small prizes, certificates or redeemable scrip for the scout or student who recovers the rocket intact.
jurist, Nov 10 2005
  

       I forgot to mention that this time reward system would be used over the span of several meetings. The same candle is brought back to the meetings every time until it burns out.   

       I like the model rocket launch idea. Much better reward than ice-cream!
dogzapper, Nov 11 2005
  
      
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