Friday, September 10, 2010

Little Miss Loophole

#3, who I'm going to nickname Little Miss Loophole, is off to a good start with the new school year.

For starters, last night when I was attempting to put her to bed, she announced that she had a few questions about her math homework. So I agreed to quickly look at the four problems she had "questions" about. Not until the last one, #30, did I realize that the other three she needed help with were numbers 27, 28, and 29. She knew I wouldn't let her stay up to finish homework that she had procrastinated; but I would be more than happy to help with her "questions". She's a talented manipulator.

What really cracked me up was her answer to #30. The problem was stated thusly:
"How many different three-digit numbers can you write using the digits 0, 4, and 9? Each digit may be used only once, and the digit 0 may not be used in the hundreds place. Label your numbers as even or odd."

So what do you think was #3's answer? (I'm happy to say I mentally came up with the same answer while she was writing it.) Here's what she wrote:

"Four, even."

Do you know why she is right?

The question asked for an amount of three-digit numbers. Though it implied that she should write out those three-digit numbers, it technically didn't ask for that. And of course Little Miss Loophole is only going to give what it asked for. And since her answer, 4, is an even number, that is how she labeled it.

After writing her answer, she looked at me and said, "They're not asking the right question." We had a short discussion during which I made sure that she did know what they were looking for and what the three-digit numbers were. I also applauded her thinking and said that even if the answer book said she got it wrong, we both knew she had it right.

Many times I find myself frustrated by her thought processes because her brain is usually on a different wavelength than mine. Then there are times like these that I really enjoy the creative thinking she demonstrates. I need to be careful to not squelch that, but rather, to encourage it.

Update: On my last loopholes post, I wrote about her manipulation of the school's uniform policy. This year at back-to-school night, the PTO re-emphasized their policy (new as of #3's first-grade year) that only sweaters and jumpers may be layered, not shirts. She's still keeping everyone on their toes!


Carolyn said...

I interpreted the question the same way she did. It didn't even cross my mind that it was asking for the numbers, not just the amount of numbers. Must be a 3rd child thing.

Charlotte said...

She is too funny. I've been known to write notes to teachers pointing out the problem was asked improperly or there was not enough information given. I'm sure they love those notes...

Min said...

I love her smart brain.
And yes, you need to encourage this thinking (until it causes a problem when she's a teenager and loophole-ing you. I also find it interesting that Carolyn interpreted the question the same way she did. I did not; I took the implied message, which makes me wonder if I read into things or am just good at knowing implisitions (I made up that word) which is pretty useful as an interpreter (so that's good for my career I guess).

Min said...

uh, here's the ) I left out. Place it after "loophole-ing you".

VickieG said...

OK---I'm totally confused by all of you. Apparently my brain (5 decades old and counting) doesn't work anymore. What in the world are you all talking about!

VickieG said...

My old brain has no idea what you are all talking about. You'll have to explain it to me someday.