Thursday, April 4, 2013

How to Find X

I received an email with a little piece titled “Why Public School Teachers Drink . . .”

Several examples of students’ work supposedly shows their poor thinking skills, but it actually displayed their natural intelligence.

“Briefly explain what hard water is,” a student is asked.

His answer is what I’d expect a kid to say: “Ice.” After all, he’s familiar with ice. It’s in his family’s freezer and he adds it to his soft drinks.

“What did Mahatma Gandhi and Genghis Khan have in common?”

The kid’s answer is pretty good: “Unusual names.”

There’s more:

Q: “Name one of the early Roman’s greatest achievements.”
A: “Learning to speak Latin.”

Q: “How does Romeo’s character develop throughout the play?”
A: “It doesn’t, it’s just self, self, self, all the way through.”

Q: “Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?”
A: “At the bottom.”

These are perfectly sensible answers to the questions being posed. Granted, they’re not the answers that the teachers expect, but it took brains to come up with them.

My favorite of these answers is to an algebra problem showing one of those quasi-triangles. There’s an x on one side, while the others are marked with 3cm and 4cm. The kid is asked to find x. Sure enough, he did. He circled the x and wrote, “Here it is.”

Smart kid.

© 2013 Brian W. Fairbanks


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