Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Note to the Fifth Graders taking SOL Tests

What am I supposed to remember?

Every day, friends, parents and teachers tell you stuff and you have to ask yourself; am I supposed to remember this?  Am I expected to remember this?  Will I be tested as to whether I remembered this or not?

The answer is: You'll never know which are the important things and which aren't.  I'm not a young person any more, but I remember something said to me when I was 11 years old, way back in 1958...   My friend's mom told me that she could write any number in the world with nothing but 0's and 1's.  Like, 101101 (which is 45 in our numbers).

We write our numbers in decimal: (base ten: our 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9     We've got ten fingers so we chose ten).  Or they can be written in binary: (base two:  0 1).  Or we could use three: 0 1 2 , or four: 0 1 2 3, or any base we choose [even sixteen:  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 x y z a b c ].   Computers use electricity and that only sees ON and OFF,  computers can only see two kinds of digits (fingers).  They count with only 0's and 1's but they do it really fast!  Computers are running the world, they are in every product that uses electricity.  They have changed the world.

My friend's mom was a very funny looking lady and you probably would say the same thing about her.  She was way over six feet tall and she looked like a man and didn't wear womanly clothing.  If she hadn't been my best friend's mom, I would have been afraid of her and probably never would have listened to, much less remembered, anything that she said.  But what she told me that day was true.  She and her husband were helping to invent computers back then and I was there on the computer's first birthday.  Why do I mention that she was funny looking?

You never know where the really important things will come from so you should want to remember everything, not just the stuff you think will be on the test.

That lady told me something that I didn't think I would ever have to remember, and that something turns out to be pretty important today.

Good luck, work hard and remember everything, you just might need it on a non test day.

Mr. B