I asked him the following questions:
Why did you wait until now to ask about your grade?
Why do you think I'm going to pass you and you haven't done anything?
If I was willing to make up grades, given the way you behave in my class, do you think I'd fake grades for you?
What do you want to do to earn the grade you want?
Am I failing you or are YOU failing you?
Eventually, the student told me that HE was done with the conversation and to just give him the 45 he was supposed to have so the sponsor of the activity wouldn't bother him to try to make up his grades. My response was as follows:
"No. No you aren't done. You came to me to beg for a higher grade in the middle of class. YOU don't decide when you are done. You have my undivided attention. If you want to have a higher grade and you want to participate in something important to you, you have to be willing to work for it. I have extra credit for you. I will go get it, but you have to ask me for it. You have to care enough about your own education to take it. To demand it. To work for it."
The student went from "I don't care" to "I want extra credit" in about 30 seconds. Why? Maybe he was ready for me to stop pontification about caring about his own education. Maybe he just wanted to do his activity. Maybe I inspired him to take his education into his own hands and fight to learn. I did my best Brad Pitt and hopefully it worked. Either way he did great yesterday and I told him so. He was proud and so was I.