The Best of Creative Computing Volume 1 (published 1976)

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Life Auction (classroom exercise, ranking importance of lifestyle options)

graphic of page

Have children go to the chalkboard for this activity. Then give them the
following instructions: "Write down your age (say 11); multiply by 2 (22);
subtract 3 (19); multiply by 50 (950); add 39 (389); add the change-under $1.00-
in your pocket (989+32=1021); and add 111 (1132)." The children will be
surprised to find that the first two digits in their answer always equal their
age and the last two digits always equal the amount of change in their pockets.

Wisdom is OK for places where you have to be wise, but it isn't so good where
you have to know.

Kenneth Boulding



Using s problem-oriented language such as COGO, civil engineers can efficiently
determine the cut and fill, gradients and curvature for a new road, pipeline, or
transit system. (Photo Caterpillar)



Life Action


This is an interesting and enjoyable exercise. Each person is asked to rank in
order the following items:

Your ranking: Item: 
1.  Ability to be self-sufficient
2.  Active and satisfying life
3. Ability to influence others (ideas)
4. Ability to draw love from others
5. Power over things (fix cars, grow vegetables, program computers, build boats,
6. Ability to be a caring person
7. Active and satisfying athletic life
8. Opportunities for risk and adventure
9. Intellectual ability
10. Good health
11. Wealth
12. Approval by the opposite sex
13. Intellectual stimulation
14. Physical attractiveness
15. Prestige (not "social") family life
16. Ability to initiate and maintain friendships
17. Resilience (ability to bounce back
18. Ability to give love
19. Socially significant activity
20. Close and supportive
21. Artistic ability

Then in small groups of three or four, members share their lists and discuss
what each considers to be really important in life. Then the larger group comes
together and the auction begins. Each person is given 20 chips or cards, each
worth one thousand dollars. Each item is auctioned off and in the spontaneity
and excitement of the auction, the participants discover what they think is
really important to them. They also learn a great deal about others in the


After completing the above exercise, complete one or more of the following

I learned (or relearned) that I ....

I noticed that I ...

I was surprised to see that I ....

I was pleased (disappointed) that I ....

Because it is important that everyone be as open and supportive as possible, it
is essential that any member feel free to "pass" at any time. 

Try writing a computer program to analyze the responses of the class to these

(The above excerpted from an article by Jim Wilson from the January 1973
Loomis-Chaffee Bulletin.)

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