A teacher was helping her third-grade students with a math problem. After choosing a student in particular, she recited the following story:
“Billy, there are three birds sitting on a telephone wire. A man with a gun shoots one of the birds. How many birds are left on the wire?”
The boy pauses. “None,” he replied thoughtfully.
“No, no, no. Let’s try again, maybe you didn’t hear me correctly,” the teacher says patiently. She holds up three fingers.
“There are three birds sitting on a wire. A man with a gun shoots one,” she puts down one finger, “how many birds are left on the wire?”
“None,” the boy says with authority.
The teacher sighs. “Tell me how you came up with that.”
“It’s simple,” says the boy, “after the man shot one bird, the noise from the gun scared the other two away.” “Well,” she says, “that’s not technically correct, but I like the way you think.” “Thanks,” chimes the boy, “now let me ask you a question.”
“Okay,” she said guardedly.