Some playful thoughts on executing vs understanding:
Little Carl-Friedrich and little Alan go to the programming class. They are told to write a program to sum up all integers from 1 to 100. Little Alan likes ‘running’ things, so he writes a loop that sums up the numbers, and finished after 5 minutes. Little Carl-Friedrich is more of the ‘descriptive’ kind, and comes up with formula for simply calculating the sum, after 10 minutes (thinking took him a little while).
What marks would you give Carl-Friedrich and Alan?
What profession (say in the area of software) would you recommend to them?
Strong opinions appreciated
It is reported that in primary school the teacher of young Carl-Friedrich Gauss tried to occupy pupils by making them add a list of integers in arithmetic progression; as the story is most often told, these were the numbers from 1 to 100. Gauss reputedly produced the correct answer within seconds, to the astonishment of his teacher.