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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Problem with Nine Times Table

My grandfather was a clerk on the Dover to London Road. He lived in Wingham in Kent. His headstone lies in Wingham’s church. We visit him every few years.

He worked in the days before calculators. He could add a column of figures in his head: In those days money had pounds, shillings, pence, halfpennies and farthings. He was proud that he could run his finger down the page adding five different variables at the same time.

Thank goodness that the current 11+ examinations do not allow the use of calculators. Our children may lose the use of being able to manipulate numbers altogether if all they have to do in the examination is whip out their mobile phone and press the buttons.

I watched a reasonably competent 11+ child write:

+ £34.96

She said she could do multiplication but she was not sure of her nine times table. She explained she could manage 6 x 3 but was unsure of 9 x 3 or even 3 x 9. She said that it was easier and quicker just to add it up! Any advice to the child and her teacher?

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