THE KING TUT PUZZLE
Lou at “Sunnyside” http://www.loubradt.com/ recently ranted about homework for grade school children. It reminded me of this story.
At seven years old, Spencer was bringing home a boatload of homework every night. Much of it was “busy” work and some didn’t make sense even to his parents. My favorite was a math question designed (I guess) to make the kids think:
“Two and two equals four…explain.”
I mulled over this question for about 20 minutes. I had no idea what the teacher was looking for and it was 8:30, 30 minutes past Spencer’s bed time and 2 ½ hours into a seven year olds homework. I finally scribbled on his paper:
“Because if he told me two and two equals anything else I would think he was an idiot and you were the worst math teacher in the USA.”
That was the last “thinking question” homework we received that year.
The killer assignment of all assignments was a “King Tut” puzzle.
Spencer came home one night with an envelope. Inside were 11 pieces of white paper cut into puzzle pieces. The assignment was to put the pieces together and then tell three things about the person the puzzle formed.
Plain white pieces are difficult to figure out, especially when cut by scissors and even more especially when one piece was missing. We (did any teacher really think a 7 year old was going to do this without help) started at 7:00. At 7:45 I still did not know who this puzzle was supposed to be until I asked Spencer what they were studying in this class.
Ah ha! The puzzle without a piece now started to look like King Tut.
The puzzle finally solved, we now had to tell three things about King Tut.
It was eight o’clock and I was borderline crazed about this stupid assignment. Couldn’t the teacher just have asked “Tell three things about King Tut?” No, she had to send home a stupid freaking all white puzzle with a missing piece. What fun!!
“Get you book Spence and we’ll look up King Tut.” His book did not have a section on King Tut. I guess we were expected to look him up on the internet. My internet access at the time was via a slow modem (remember modems?) My patience was now zero.
“Write this down Spence.”
1. King Tut was called the child king…because he was a child. (That was the extent of my King Tut knowledge.)
2. King Tut was left handed. (Prove me wrong.)
3. It is now nine o’clock; my father says it is well known that King Tut was unable to solve puzzles with all white scissor cut pieces especially when one piece was missing. So I guess King Tut was also an idiot.
That was the last puzzle project of the year.