Would game playing be able to solve some eleven plus problems? Matrices can come up in some types of reasoning questions. Matrices are to do with grids. There are columns and rows. Eleven plus children are usually asked to complete a pattern. One great eleven and highly useful element of the matrices is that is often possible to solve a matrices problem without using any words. This offers the chance of progressive tests of matrices being used in cross cultural studies.
Suppose that you make a grid out of string on your carpet. You could then gather up shapes with squares, circles, oblongs and triangles. In this exercise the shape would need to be more important than materials, sizes and thicknesses. You, and your child, could arrange the shapes in columns.
Row 1. Square Triangle Circle Oblong
Row 2. Square Triangle Circle Oblong
Row 3 Square Triangle Gap Oblong (Row 3 has a gap – waiting for a shape.)
Row 4. Square Triangle Circle Oblong
Do you need to say anything to suggest that your child needs a circle to complete the matrix?
Now ask your children to turn their backs. Remove one shape. Does your eleven plus child dart forward with the correct shape? You are nearly there.
Now you complicate the game. Ask your eleven plus child to set up the shapes in a new pattern – but to keep the rule secret. You then turn your back – while your child sets up the matrix. (You may need to ask your younger children not to divulge the sequence while you try to understand your child’s reasoning.)
This exercise may help you to understand your child’s thinking – and your reaction to his or her endeavours. After all you may not need any words to solve the problem. Equally you may be forced to say to your child: “How on earth did you do that?”
Who then becomes an eleven plus winner?