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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Approach the Eleven Plus with a Happy Heart

What happens when your heart is broken? Does this really mean that you are hopelessly distressed or simply that one day you hope that you will recover?

You offer your eleven plus child a problem. If your heart drops to the bottom of your boots does this mean that the downward speed of the heart will increase as soon as it leaves your chest? The traditional eleven plus question is: “Assume that a stone is dropped down a deep well. Will it travel faster and faster until it reaches the bottom?”

(Out of interest - Lord James Douglas once carried the heart of King Robert Bruce to Spain. King Bruce wanted his heart left in the Holy Land. Lord James carried the heart in a silver casket which he wore round his neck. Sadly Lord James was killed so Sir Simon Lockhard of Lee carried the heart back to Scotland. The heart was buried in one place and the body in another.)

Suppose you tie a goat to a piece of string. Place the goat in a rectangular field. The goat then eats all the grass. Ask your eleven plus child to tell you what shape is the patch of grass that the goat eats?

If you then asked your eleven plus child about a piece of string tried to a nail – and you set the question: “If you move the pencil and keep the string tight – what shape will you draw?

We can take the experiment a little further. Ask your child a simple eleven plus question. If each side of a hexagon is 6sm long, what is the length of the perimeter?

Finally ask your child: If a gardener has enough grass seed to seed a lawn 8 m by 3 m, and he uses it to seed a lawn 6 m long, how wide will it be?

To answer these questions your can encourage your child to close his or her eyes and try to visualise the problem.

You could also suggest that your child draws a little sketch. This could help to develop a strategy for answering questions.

It is difficult to know, however, what to do with the broken heart. All you can do is hope that your child remains happy, healthy and well. If your child does the best that he or she can do then your heart may never be broken.

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