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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Eleven Plus Codes

Should the actual eleven plus mathematics paper your child sits later this year include a little group of hard and demanding questions?

Three times the square of a certain whole number is three less than ten times the original number. Find the number.

What about a question like this?

A certain number of pence are shared among some children. If they have eleven pence each there are three pence left over; but three more pence are needed if they are to have twelve pence each. How much money is being shared, and how many children are sharing?

Working out problems in mathematics engages some minds – but can be regarded as an aberration by even the most astute eleven plus scholar. Do you remember at school hearing about the Babylonians who in the second century BC used a system for mathematics where the value of a number depended on its position? You will probably recall that they placed two small wedges to indicate that a number was occupied. This enabled them to distinguish the difference between 107 and 17.

Babylonia was one of the great empires of the world. It was probably inhabited by civilised man as far back as nine thousand BC. Their great king was Hammurabi who developed a highly sophisticated system of laws.

Eleven Plus Laws – Written by a Team of Parents and Children.

  • Do your work on time and when you are told to do it. You can not establish your own set of eleven plus laws. You do need to work within limits set by your parents.
  • Only argue when you are allowed, by your parents, to argue. If you really do have to argue then make sure that the premise you are arguing on is acute and water tight. You don’t want your mother to be able to say: “I told you so.”
  • It really is your duty to listen and take notice. When listening, nod attentively at times and say the magic words: “Yes mum. Sorry mum.” These four words will lessen the flow and give you time to breathe.
  • When you are faced with hard mathematics questions, like the ones above, try them but if you can’t solve them move on. Ask your parents to help you solve the problems when there are guests around. You will show that you are eager and attentive and a true eleven plus scholar.

We are taught that in a court of law that counsel should never ask a question unless you know the answer. The answer to the first question is three and the second sixty nine p and six children. (You knew that anyway and did not need me to help out.)

But why should eleven plus children know about Hammurabi? It is quite simple. The laws were called `Codes’ – the Code of Hammurabi. Some eleven plus children have to solve hard mathematics questions, some parents work out eleven plus laws with their children and even in the times of the Babylonians children had to cope with codes.

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