Idea I’ll Never Follow Up On, Though It Is Good

So I have a awesome idea (toot toot)[1], but if I know me when the school year starts, I won’t actually follow through on it. But maybe someone out there in the great Internet cosmos will follow through on it.

Kids like Pizazz sheets. I have a bunch of them for calculus. There is a great payoff because when the kids solve the worksheets,  solutions to the world’s corniest riddles are revealed. It is a self-checking homework sheet, because if students mess up, the answer to the joke is garbled.

My idea is to make my own Pizazz worksheet, but the solution will be… well, lemme just whip a sample one up.

Of course this can be done with vimeo or even any url shortner. I had at one point a grand ambition to make a giant internet web puzzle for my students, that we’d spend the year trying to solve. Each unit brings us another clue, which brings us to another page… But you know, grand ambitions get foiled at every turn, by my own laziness and the exigencies of life as a teacher.

And no, I won’t give you the answer to the puzzle. Figure it out!

[1] That’s me tooting my own horn.



  1. I like the idea, but how does Vimeo or YouTube fit into this? Last year I started to develop an alternate reality game that had kids do a series of tasks to unlock the clues. Didn’t quite finish it though. Grand ambitions…you’re right there.

    1. The solution to the puzzle gives you a series of 11 characters — and these characters lead you to a video. So the solution to problem 1 is 2, and at the bottom the character associated with 2 is P. So that’s the first of 11 characters. When students solve the puzzle, they get to enter it into the url at the top:

      That will bring them to a video, if they did it right. I tried changing a character or two, and it didn’t end up working, so in a way, if a student gets it ALL right, they are self checked. But if they mess up once, they won’t get it right. It isn’t self-checking individual problems, but it does have a nice payoff.

  2. Another idea liker if not adopter. My concern with short urls is that you lose some of the self-checking power of the worksheet. Then I tried putting B in the correct URL to see if I was redirected to another, less cool, video. I wasn’t so maybe it works better than I think.

  3. I love the idea but, like Sarah said, you do lose the self-checking power of the worksheet. If you’re at a school where technology and access is ubiquitous, it might work.

    You may have good intentions, but if somehow the URL resolves to an inappropriate video, it could be bad. I don’t know enough about hashing algorithms or how those short strings are generated to make an educated guess about the probability of that happening. Proceed with caution.

  4. With your own web space you could make your own page named with randomly generated characters that contained a YouTube imbed. That would probably even make creating the worksheet faster. Take a premade worksheet, write the answer correctly, replace random letters in the begining, swap the letters in the answer, use that to determine your URL. 5 minutes and done? (with no slight chance of an OopsTube!)

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