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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Making Eleven Plus Waves

What is a hard mathematics question for an Eleven Plus child? Well it would be a lot easier to answer if parts of the mathematics papers were set by physics teachers.

At school we all did `Wave Theory’. An example of wave theory is when sound vibrates on a frequency. The pitch stays the same but the volume grows quieter and quieter. A tuning fork is lightly damped because the sound persists for a long time. A bottle, when blown across the top, only emits the sound for a short time because the bottle is heavily damped so the vibrations die away quickly.

We get water waves when we throw a stone into water.

We can get ultrasonic waves when the pitch of the sound wave is too high for the human ear.

So when a parent calls a child to do an Eleven Plus paper, and the child does not appear to hear, we can only question:

Is the lack of hearing due to damping?

Was our message too quiet so that it did not cause even a ripple of consciousness?

Was the tone of voice a little too high and forced?

So now onto the mathematics question. Is this too hard for a bright Eleven Plus candidate?

England were playing a crucial football match, one fifth of the spectators left ten minutes before the end and one quarter of the remainder left in the last five minutes.

Question 1
If 60 000 spectators were left in the ground when the final whistle sounded, how many spectators watched the game?

Question 2
If the game was at Wembley, was England winning or losing?

Now a mathematician would work out the answer.

A physicist would tell us not to make waves!

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