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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Eleven Plus Relationships

“Thank you, but why do we need to learn algebra?”

Some children are not simply passive learners – they want to know why and how.

Algebra deals mainly with equations, which are mathematical statements. The statements contain an equals sign such as 3x + 6 = 12. Early on in the primary school the algebra is mainly shown in diagrams and drawings. As children move towards the end of KS2 into KS3 more formal notation is used.

When children say that they `love mathematics’ they are often talking about the creative side of mathematics – where they are encouraged to solve problem. We sometimes work with our more able Eleven Plus children on the equation: y = mx + c.

There would be a general outcry if Eleven Plus papers asked children to cope with ‘y = mx and c’, but bright ten year old mathematics can cope – and enjoy.

“Algebra helps to describe relationships between numbers.”

Some teachers and parents are to be envied if there is time to be able to spend a morning exploring the relationships between numbers.

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