Write LOGO Code…

As you may remember, this past semester I had my students do some very simple programming exercises in LOGO. The lab session could actually be considered a success since most of the students seemed to enjoy playing with the Tortue interpreter.

On the final exam I decided to include an extra credit question to see how many students have retained any understanding of that lab session. It asked the students to draw two squares of different color on the canvas and it was worth 10 points that would get added to the student’s total score. I wasn’t really looking for 100% correct solution – merely an attempt that would show some degree of understanding of the question.

Since the question was optional and also non-trivial, I expected many people to skip it. Surprisingly quite a few students answered it with a high degree of correctness. In fact, I was surprised that more people attempted to answer the LOGO question rather than a very similar optional question which asked them to write down the syntax for a HTML table. But perhaps it’s because the HTML exercise we did was right after the midterm, while the LOGO lab was 2 weeks before the final so it was still fresh in their memory.

Most of the answers were either correct, or close to be correct. Only one made me laugh out loud though. And it’s not because I’m an evil bastard and I laugh at students failure. It’s because it was a genuine attempt at humor. I decided to scan it in and share it with you:


Get it? I said “Write Tortue Logo code” and he did. Anyways, I found it amusing. I reminded me of the infamous find x problem that has been passed around on the Internets for ages now:


Find x is so ancient it doesn’t even seem to have an original source. That is, I’m sure there is one but I have no clue what it could be because just about every blog, forum and image board has posted and re-posted it a hundred times over without any attribution. In fact, I have seen people claiming that this image is not actual genuine scan from a test, but just something that someone did as a joke. Perhaps, but the limited amount of teaching experience that I have tells me that it probably is genuine. Especially since now I have my own variation on the same theme.

The question is – was this a homage, or an original attempt at humor that just turned out to be derivative. Cause, as you probably know we have exhausted almost all original content left in the universe around the turn of the century (if not earlier) and almost everything that is being created now re-uses old themes, tropes and ideas. This is especially true for internet culture which thrives on memetics, repetition and self referential humor.

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5 Responses to Write LOGO Code…

  1. dawn SWITZERLAND Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    That’s a classic in my friends circle. Most of the time, when somene says something like “sailor”, another person would say “lor”. It also happens with “yellow” and yelling “oh”.

    By the way

    Write “Tortue LOGO code”…

    would have been the right question for your student’s answer. In the current question, there is no typographical indication to do what he did (no italics or quotes). Anyway, it’s funny nontheless. I suspect he might be a language geek.

    I suppose you’re right about the fact that there is nothing original in humour nowadays. The Internet is indeed a silly place, but the scariest thing is that many memes and such also “migrate” into real life.

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  2. mcai8sh4 UNITED KINGDOM Opera Linux Terminalist says:

    haha…. “sailor…” love it!
    I don’t think original humor is dead yet. Our (or mine at least) frame of reference is only a relatively short space of time. Look at humor from 100 years ago, to me (in my late 20’s) not very funny. As society changes our perspective on humor adapts, gradually, slowly, so we don’t really notice new humor. Over 2 generations, humor (much like the language it’s based on) can become nearly incoherent (one might say terminally!).
    Admittedly not all humor will be forgotten, people hurting themselves will, I think, always raise a smile to us twisted mortals.
    Back to your post… As long as your student made the effort on the rest of the test (as opposed to just wasting their, and your, time), they should be applauded. I’m sure marking that particular question reduced the monotony of the task. I find, in business, the slightest light-hearted comment on an otherwise important and serious situation, 1) releases a little stress, 2) improves your relationship with others, 3) ??? 4) PROFIT!

    Here in the UK I have seen a great demise in society over my short life. To the degree when I’m surprised when someone in the street says “Good Morning” to me. More humor needed! But enough of my verbal diarrhea.

    The proof is your students seemed to enjoy that lesson, more importantly learn from it. Also they feel that they can return humor to you, without fear of repercussions… hence respect. Well done!

    “Yellow” – superb!! :D

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  3. astine UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    The latter. Some people just have that kind of humor. – It’s definitely something I would do if I didn’t have the answer, or didn’t feel I had the answer.

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  4. Dan UNITED STATES Konqueror Linux says:

    That was funny. Next time try the question I told Nick S. to use for his class (although he said nobody really understood it.)

    Extra Credit: What is faster, a CPU or TCP/IP? (or use any general, but not comparable terms)

    If the student cannot see that these cannot be compared they get the credit, hell even if they define both and discuss what each has added to the history of computing then they get the credit. If however they try to pick one above the other as a comparison then they have not learned the very basics.

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  5. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    @Dan: Heh! Good one!

    Though I can see how most students would probably misunderstand the problem and automatically answer CPU because they know that CPU’s are very fast at executing instructions, and networking is always a bottleneck. But I guess this is why this is a trick question. :)

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