Monday, April 17, 2006

Read Instructions Carefully

Those directions are there for a reason. For your sake, mostly.

I was making some popcorn in a pot – I was trying a healthier alternative to the pre-flavoured microwave stuff. I read some instructions on the internet saying that if you coat the bottom layer with kernels, the popped kernels will expand 6 inches from the bottom of the pot. He emphasized that the depth of the pot was key.

I took a look at my pot – 4 inches tall – and figured it would be fine.

No such luck.

Once the popcorn gets popping, it really gets popping! Lid was shaking because I was shaking the pot. So far so good. Then the lid started rising… “Oh well,” I thought, “it looks like it’s going to stop any minute now” Of course it didn’t. The very dry and starchy popcorn fell over the sides of the pot and hit the element. This in turn, you guessed it, started a small series of fires.

Luckily, cooler heads prevailed. After a sprinkling of water and profanities, the fire was quenched.

So, why am I telling you all this?

This minor disaster could have been prevented if I had done the following:
(a) Paid attention. (b) Followed some easy instructions.

Since this site is about learning, education and such, I hope you are starting to see how this can apply. In particular, mere seconds after extinguishing the flames, I thought about how this could apply to testing.

Have you ever screwed up something on a test, just because you didn’t read the directions properly? I’ll use a history example: you were supposed to write down the location beside a series of battle names, but you were so used to memorizing the years that you put those instead. Misreading a question that could have been really easy can waste a lot of time or cost you marks.

This is a very simple message; the trick though– like so many things – is in the follow-through. We should keep a cool head and read things slowly, maybe even a few times. This will ensure we don’t make any silly mistakes, and will prevent minor disasters.

Well, unless you set your paper on fire, but then you probably have bigger problems.

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At 12:23 AM, Anonymous azim said...

oh josh, i missed you and your gravyness.

At 10:34 PM, Blogger *ellie* said...

good job trying the no trans-fat popcorn. it's all i use


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