How many fingers do human beings have?
Seems like a simple question doesn’t it? I was asked this during an evaluation in elementary school for potential placement in the school’s TAG (Talented and Gifted) Program. I answered that most people had ten fingers, but some may have less or more depending on birth defects or accidents that may have injured their hands. For those of you who believe this is a satisfactory answer and that most human beings do in fact have ten fingers, you too would have failed to answer this question in a manner sufficient enough to enter you into the TAG program. Although the answer ten is not incorrect, the preferred answer I was informed is that human beings have eight fingers and two thumbs. What??!?!!? It’s over two decades later and I am still fascinated by this question and the answers people provide. I have yet to find anyone who initially answers that human beings have only eight fingers and two thumbs, but I’ll keep asking.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, the thumb is considered a finger; the short, thick finger on the side of your hand; however, the following is provided for the definition of finger: one of the five long parts of the hand that are used for holding things; especially: one of the four that are not the thumb. One can then surmise that humans have ten digits connected to their hands, but only eight are specifically labeled as fingers, the other two digits are thumbs. Included among the fingers are pointer or index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and little or pinky finger. Thumb is not a finger. Hmmmmmm…………
Clearly, homeschooling won’t necessarily increase the likelihood that your child would respond to this question with the preferred answer, but it does make it a little less necessary that they do so. Children enrolled in talented and gifted programs throughout the United States are often provided increased levels of individual attention, opportunities for accelerated programs and advanced learning, and are often able to skip or test out of certain grade levels. Earning college credits during high school or graduating early are also encountered and in many states scholarships specifically designed for children that have tested into the talented and gifted program are offered. Fortunately, all of this can be accomplished in a homeschool environment if your child is ready without them having to qualify through a talented and gifted assessment.
Placement testing is frequently used to identify students who qualify for unique assistance in varied school programs. Fortunately, in a homeschooling environment each child can be identified as a talented and gifted individual for their own unique strengths rather than labeled as such secondary to an arbitrary testing mechanism. If you would like to investigate gifted programs further check out: National Association of Gifted Children. If you are interested in understanding further what is meant by gifted versus bright consider this checklist: The Bright Child vs the Gifted Learner. When my new baby arrives I’ll be hoping to count his eight little fingers and two tiny thumbs! Happy homeschooling everyone
Have you or your child ever been asked a test question that had a preferred answer that you considered unusual? Please share the knowledge!