Can You Give Me a Bigger Problem?

I was conducting a Python workshop at KCG College a few years ago.  I was teaching them basics  – variables, strings, control statements, etc. for about half an hour. Then, I gave them a few minutes to try out some examples and started walking around to see how they were doing.

I saw Swathi (one of the students) sitting with a bored look. I walked up to her and asked, how she was doing.

“Sir, I finished all the problems you gave me. Can you give me a Bigger Problem?”.

I was pleasantly surprised. I said, “Do you know Newton-Raphson Method” for finding the square root of a number? She did not know. I explained briefly with an example, the principle of how the method worked. A few minutes later, she called me and showed me her program. I tested it a bit, and it worked great. In those few minutes, she got the formula from Wikipedia, coded in Python and tested it.

She used is one of the most powerful methods of learning – “Learning by Doing”.

Swathi was an unusual student. She is doing her masters now. I normally find one or two such students in each batch, and it is always a pleasure to discover them. I am always looking to work with such students.