Fairly unfair

Anil Kumar Patnaik

I rechecked the question paper, notwithstanding the fact that I knew exactly what it said, yet I was taken aback by the answer. Valuing each answer is important for a mathematics teacher. Of course, the question was correct –
Q 2. Find the measure of the angle which is equal to its supplement?
I checked a few scripts and the common answer was:
Let the angle=x°
–> Its supplement =180° – x°
–> x° = 180°-x°
–> 2 x° = 180°
–> x° = 90°
–> The measure of the angle = 90°

This is absolutely correct, as two angles are said to be supplementary if their sum is 180°. But this child, whose paper I was looking at, had written the answer as, “A migratory bird with drab brownish plumage known for its melodious songs”. It struck a chord as it sounded like a dictionary explanation of the bird in question!

I usually evaluate answer scripts in decreasing order of roll numbers. Now very curious I pondered over the answer script of roll no. 29, whose answer to the question was “Night in gale”. Unable to control my curiosity, I took out the next answer script, roll no. 28, Q.no. 2, and lo here the answer was “Night Angle”. Night Angle, what is that? Without wasting a second, I checked the next script to see “RIGHT ANGLE”.

Thank God!, at least the correct answer was there in words.

Speculating some flimflam, I checked the answer script of roll no. 26. This child expressed meticulously in a lucid manner and the answer was 90°.

Trying to establish a connection between the answers, I checked them in order from Roll no-26 to 30 and it goes 90° –> right angle –> night angle –> night in gale –> A migratory bird with drab brownish plumage known for its melodious songs.

I knew the evolution of mankind from Neanderthal to Homo sapiens but not from an orthogonal angle to a mellifluous thrush!

I use such funny fabrications to dissuade children from unfair means and motivating them is so much easier with a sense of humour.

The author is an enthusiastic educator of mathematics and writes on topics related to innovative and engaging educational methods. He is known for his creative skills, his dramatic and mimicry abilities, disciplined lifestyle and contributions as a community worker. He can be reached at anilpatnaik8@gmail.com.

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