Practice Python

Beginner Python exercises

18 July 2014

Chilis, Spice, and Exercises

The “easy”, “medium”, and “hard” scale of exercise difficulty is not conducive to trial, error, exploration, and challenge. There are a number of problems:

  1. It is a scale without end - to make things easier than “easy” you say “very easy”, and to make things harder than “hard”, you say “very hard.”
  2. If you are starting on exercises and are unable to complete an “easy” exercise, “hard” seems infinitely far away.
  3. Exercises often have tricks and twists that don’t fall along a linear scale from “easy” to “hard”.

So what are Chilis?

Chilis are an alternate scale for exercises. The scale is not absolute - any number of chilis can be added to an exercise, and it is not used to denote difficulty as much as “spice”.

The chili scale was used at Canada/USA Mathcamp both when I was a camper and a counselor. The execution and result was excellent, so I decided to use this system myself. The idea was to denote a scale that talks about the challenge of a problem rather than a difficulty level. It helps with encouragement, the ability to scale exercises, and a sense of adventure necessary in all difficult pursuits. Oh, and the metaphor is fantastic. It’s not quite the firehose, but it’s the next best thing.

Enjoy the chili system - take as much spice as you can get!

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