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Monday, April 07, 2008

Stimulating Eleven Plus Children

It had to happen.

It looks as if some children had some hard homework set to them over the holidays.

One question was:

In an old fashioned cuckoo clock, the bird cuckoos once at 1 o’clock, twice at 2 o’clock, 3 times at three o’clock and so on.

Jamie, who is at home sick, wakes just before 7 a.m. and goes to sleep at 8.15 p.m. How many times has the bird called during this period?

We worked out:

7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8.

This adds up to 93 times.

Our `bright spark’ immediately starting trying to work out how many times the cuckoo would cuckoo if it cuckooed twice during the half hour. (Apparently some cuckoos do pop out on the half hour.)

She then asked if we could add on the fact that the clock cuckooed once every quarter to and once every quarter past. The next question was: “If Jamie goes to sleep at 8.15 would she hear the clock or would she be asleep? Do we count the 8.15 cuckoo or do we leave it?”

This shows a typically divergent approach to work. Her questions were not inconsequential – she was genuinely involved. She was simply trying to take the problem to the next level.

Perhaps one day there will be more genuinely stimulating questions in the Eleven Plus examinations. Well done to the teacher at school for setting the work. We had a few minutes of pleasure in the lesson. We also were able to try to keep up with an able mind working at the speed of light!

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