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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Monkey Business and the Eleven Plus

Lots of children seem to like monkeys. Monkeys are sociable animals and live in warm regions – such as parts of Africa and Asia as well as Central and South America. Eleven plus children will know that monkeys make their homes on dense forests or on tropical islands. They have as their leader a wise male monkey who leads them to new homes. Of course monkeys are extremely sociable – and appear to chatter and play all day long.

Monkeys are very different from other animals in many respects – but one big difference is that while animals have four feet a monkey has four hands. A monkey can seem to be rather clumsy while walking – but can climb trees in the most marvellous manner – clinging to the branches with long and powerful fingers.

The following words can be made from the word `monkey’. (There may be others.)

me, no, on, key, men, Ken, yen, monk, yoke, okey, Nome, money and monkey

Could the word `okey’ be used in an eleven plus question? We know that O.K. is an endorsement – as is okey.  

The word `nome’ may not appear in the vocabulary of some eleven plus children – especially when we explain that the word is to do with an ancient province.

We know that eleven plus children need a strong vocabulary – but extensive reading may not throw up `okey’ and `nome’. It is likely that it would not be fair to include these two words in an eleven plus question.

What could be fair, however, is a little exercise on some monkeys racing for food in a zoo. All the monkeys were at the top of their cage – playing with an elaborate knitting of ropes. The keeper entered the cage with a bowl of fresh bananas. Half way down the ropes the first five were Simon, Gerald, Peter, Eugene and Roger. To the excitement of the watching spectators, some of whom captured the sequence on their video cameras, it became obvious that Roger had passed Eugene, Peter and Gerald. In a late surge – by dropping several feet – Edward overtook Peter.

Which monkey came first?
Which monkey came second?
Which monkey came third?
Which monkey came fourth?
Which monkey came fifth?

Some children will prefer finding words within words – and others will enjoy the challenge of solving problems. All parents can do is to hope that it all comes together on the day.