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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Just a Little Patience

We used to use yards and feet because these measures come from man himself - the length of a foot and so on. The length of fields used to be measured in yards. So 10 feet is three yards and one foot. Man has also developed a way of measuring time.

Time, however, is difficult to teach. When we are adding weeks and days we need to know how many days there are in a week. There are seven days in a week. So three days plus five days makes one week and one day.

5 weeks 3 days
+2 weeks 5 days

Sometimes teachers and parents try to help children to `discover’ and `problem solve‘. Part of the theory behind this approach is that if we help children to `discover’ we will save boredom and inattention. It must be very difficult for any of us to feel really excited about adding days and weeks. (Unless we are going on holiday.)

In the eleven plus examination your child will have to solve problems. What we are trying to achieve is to help our children develop the ability to reconstruct a mathematical problem and then solve it. We can go into a field and work our way through problems yards and feet. It not so easy with time.

In the time example above you may find you need to ask two or three simple questions. How many days are there in a week? How can you change eight days to weeks and days? You may find it difficult to construct a time machine at home to let your child discover time. You may need a little patience and a little drill.

Children, however, have been solving problems like this for years. Have patience - one day your child will do it all confidently.

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