Missy Barrett's Adventures

The amazing adventures of a fictional child

Grade 8 In The Olden Days

on August 16, 2013

When I was on the Internet the other day with my Uncle Bob, guess what we found? We found a news story about a Grade 8 test from more than a hundred years ago. And you know what we did? We clicked on the picture of the test and we got to go to the test.

I think it was the real test because the paper was brown and crinkly like old newspaper paper looks like when you to old abandoned places that have newspapers on the wall for keeping the house warm in the wintertime.

Anyway, the test from Grade 8 and it was from Kentucky. That’s a state that’s one up from Tennessee where my Uncle Bob and Aunt Sissy and cousins live. I think I would get a mark for knowing that if I was in 1912. But that’s not what I was going to say.

What I was going to say was that the questions were really hard questions and it makes me think that maybe back in the olden days, kids were way a lot more smarter because they didn’t have machines to do all the hard thinking for them like we do with computers and calculators and the Internet. There was this one question that was so hard, I didn’t even know what they were asking. It was a math question, and this is what it was:

Find the cost at 12 1/2 cents per square yard of kalsomining the walls of a room 20 feet long, 16 feet wide and 9 feet high, deducting 1 door 8 feet by 4 feet 6 inches, and 2 windows 5 feet by 3 feet 6 inches.

First of all, what in the world is kalsomining? I never heard of that before! I’m guessing it’s probably like homemade paint or something like that, so I said to my Uncle, “Hey, Uncle Bob, let’s try and figure this problem out. Maybe we’re going to get it right. Let’s pretend the hard word means paint, okay?”

He said okay and then he said, “Let’s try and figure this out the old-fashioned way with a pencil and paper. Do you know what they used to say back in the day when they were using a pencil to do math?”



“Well, let’s do us some ciphering then,” I told my Uncle Bob and he laughed. I thought it was smart to figure out the measuring parts out first so I got him to write things down for me the way I was thinking them.   I told him he had to do it nice so people like me know what he’s writing.  He said he would make extra good numbers just for me.  It looked like this:

  Math 1

That was the first part done. Then I asked my Uncle Bob to figure out the next part for me exactly the way I said. First the door and then the windows. It looked like this:

Math 2

So then I asked him to do the next part just like I said would work. And it looked like this:

Math 3

But I didn’t make a big mistake and say, “Hey that answer is 2,808 because that’s feet, not yards.” I told my Uncle Bob to do this to that part of the question:

March 4

And then I said probably we have to do times on that answer and to times it all by twelve and a half cents. He said that came out to thirty-three dollars and sixty-six cents. When he asked me if I wanted to know if my answer was right, I said, “No, thank you. I’ll wait until I go back home and ask my mom’s friend, Roy. He knows lots about building things. ”

Besides, I think it’s not right because we did feet math and the question has square yards in it, too, and I don’t even know what square yards is plus the walls were hard feet and the kalsomining was wet square yards.  That got me mixed up a lot.

I can hardly wait to go back home now to find out if I maybe could be almost as smart as a Grade eighter in the olden days. Probably I’m not, but maybe I’m pretty close. I think so, maybe yes.

Just wait till my brothers, Josh and Aaron find out I know what kalsomining is and they don’t.  That will be pretty funny to see, too!

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