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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Stopping to ask directions

An activity in one of my Saturday Course classes this morning was a crypto treasure hunt. Each group of three fifth-graders had to decrypt a cryptogram, leading to a somewhat mystifying plaintext, which in turn took them to a location where they could find the next clue, which necessitated returning to the classroom, etc. There was a story line behind all this, but we’ll save that for another day. Anyway, the groups were formed by alphabetical order, and it happened that two were all-female, one was all-male, and one was mixed. The all-female groups and the mixed group returned quickly, but where was the all-male one? Were they still figuring out their clue (“Down in the dungeon where the heat is controlled”)?

It turned out that the program director had been observing the kids, and these fifth-grade boys were the only group that was unwilling to ask directions! It starts early.

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