A Jump From Logic

| Learning | January 24, 2014

(I am in science class, and we are finishing up a long project. Due to time constraints, the teacher decides to teach one person how to use the machine we will be needing, which will measure each group’s data. He decides to pick this person with a riddle. He draws a small square within a large square on the board. This is a magnet high school focused on math and science. Most of the kids here think in a very systematic, mathematical way.)

Teacher: “There is a three foot by three foot island containing treasure. Surrounding this square island is a bottomless chasm, three feet all the way around, forming another square. You have two pieces of wood, each one foot by a quarter of a foot. How do you get across the chasm to the island?”

Classmate #1: “You can put the boards at an angle and overlap them. They may be able to just bridge the gap.”

Teacher: “Not exactly.”

Classmate #2: “Can you cut the boards?”

Teacher: “No. Keep guessing.”

(The whole class sits there in silence. I make up my mind to answer sarcastically, just to see if I can get a laugh out of the class.)

Me: “Jump over the chasm. Three feet is only this wide.”

(I motion with my hands approximately three feet.)

Teacher: “And you are correct! Come here. Let me show you how to use the machine.”

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