Friday, August 26, 2005

Orientation and teaching the basics

The Library was involved more heavily in New Student Orientation this year (incoming First-Years and Transfer Students). We had a longer session, 30 minutes, all to ourselves. Overall it was a great success, though we certainly had some mixups.

It always gets me thinking about better ways to teach things, and I thought up a good metaphor for explaining Boolean searching. This would come after the "technical" explanation of combining sets.
Three Boolean operators go into a restaurant (no, really, this isn't a joke), AND, OR, and NOT. They want to order dessert. Here is the desert menu:
  • Strawberry shortcake (strawberries, cake, & whipped cream)
  • Chocolate eclairs
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • Fruit tart with blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries
  • Banana split with chocolate sauce and whipped cream
  • Fresh sliced mango
AND is very precise and orders "Chocolate AND Strawberries". OR is a greedy-guts and wants everything with "Chocolate OR Strawberries". NOT is allergic to strawberries and so orders "Chocolate NOT Strawberries".

What does each one get? (Remember, this is a restaurant and two people can get the same thing, and each person can get more than one dish.)

Answers:
  • AND gets Chocolate covered strawberries
  • OR gets Strawberry shortcake, Chocolate eclairs, Chocolate covered strawberries, Fruit tart, and a Banana split
  • NOT gets Chocolate eclairs, and a Banana split
Extra credit question: Can AND and NOT share a dessert?
What do you think? Does it help explain AND, OR and NOT? Or does it just make you hungry?

3 Comments:

Blogger Joy said...

Yummy!

It works for me, but I'm not the primary audience.

I fully intend to steal this, so be sure to post when you have more experience using it.

--Joy

2:26 PM, August 26, 2005  
Blogger Rebecca Hedreen said...

Joy,
Steal away! If you try it, please post your experiences, too.

At least this will make a more colorful and interesting set of graphics than "cat AND dog". Though I've been tempted to use the Budget "Do not pack cat and dog in same box."

4:26 PM, August 26, 2005  
Blogger bentley said...

"Remember the Gin and Tonic!"

12:38 AM, August 29, 2005  

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