A sociology class final exam: create and be part of a flash mob

I bet there would be quite a few sociology students who would prefer to take a final exam that included being part of a flash mob:

Montgomery County High School students who’ve spent the year studying the world’s different cultures in sociology class took their class to the streets Wednesday, or at least the sidewalks, for a head-turning final exam…

The excitement was brewing and, suddenly, a sociology class broke out. The music cranked up. One student started dancing right on the sidewalk between Uncle Julio’s and Joe’s Crab Shack. In seconds, he had company. Soon there were 55 Wootton High School students…

The kids were instructed – not just to dance, but also to study how people reacted…

It’s part of their final exam and a reminder that not everybody just follows along. Their sociology teacher is Amy Buckingham.

“Violating social norms. Doing things that are a little outside the realm of what you would normally do,” says Buckingham.

A few questions spring to mind:

1. How exactly was this graded? The story suggests students were also to be on the lookout for crowd reactions and perhaps they had to write something up about this.

2. Is this exactly what a “flash mob” is? I remember the early days of this phenomenon and if I remember correctly, the term described situations where strangers would come together to do something and then go their separate ways. What worried or perhaps excited people was that these were collections of people who didn’t know each other and who might never interact again. Now, a “flash mob” refers to a choreographed group that shows up, does something, and leaves together. These are not the same things. Imagine if the assignment was tied to the first definition and students had to recruit strangers to participate in their activity.

3. How long until these “flash mobs” are passé?

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