A first grade student's response to a class "puzzle of the week" is so deep, adults are debating it in a Twitter thread exceeding 2,000 replies and 231,000 likes.
Bret Turner, an elementary school teacher from the the San Francisco Bay area, recently asked his first graders to solve a “puzzle of the week.” It read: “I am the beginning of everything, the end of everywhere. I'm the beginning of eternity, the end of time and space. What am I?”
The answer is the letter e, but one of Turner's students went much deeper.
“The first guess from one of my 1st graders was 'death' and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the class that I didn't want to tell them that actually the answer is the letter e, which just seemed so banal in the moment,” Turner said in a tweet Tuesday that has since gone viral.
He told USA TODAY it's not unusual for his students to talk about death.
"Young kids talk about death all the time; grandparents, relatives, especially pets," he said. "It's fascinating to them, and also normal."
Twitter users had their own thoughts. One reply questioned how death is the beginning of everything (receiving more than 145 replies), another said entelechy (connected with Aristotle's distinction between matter and form) seems relevant, and a few said the obvious answer is God.
Turner, who teaches at Head-Royce School in Oakland, said other student guesses included: Not everything, all stuff, the end, and "nothingthing."
Maybe these kids are ready for more challenging puzzles.
Perhaps the next unit will cover "Cushioning Banality Through Germanic And Norse Mythology," Turner joked.