A seemingly impossible situation

Jayjobigglesworth will return to the moon if he finds his spaceship.

He will find his spaceship if he searches for it on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

He will search for his spaceship on Mt. Kilimanjaro if he goes there.

He will go there if he quits his job.

He will quit his job if he finds his spaceship.

I use this short story to teach my students ‘if’ statements centered around consequence. This will happen if this happens. First I ask my students to read aloud the sentences, then I ask if Jayjobigglesworth will go back to the moon. Most students realize that Jayjobigglesworth will never return to the moon because the condition for quitting his job relies on him finding his spaceship, but him finding his spaceship relies on him quitting his job. I feign ignorance and have the students explain to me why Jayjobigglesworth won’t return to the moon.  After they explain as best as they can, I have them retell the story, with ‘Jayjobigglesworth will return to the moon if’ as the beginning point. I have always been surprised with how those new stories almost always result in a possible return to the moon.

Why am I surprised that my students give my character the possibility of returning?



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