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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

An Eleven Plus Ambigram

We were working on tables today. One of our brightest had brought a table from school and wanted help with consolidating the table into a scatter graph. We went through why a table needed a title that described what the table was about. Our star told us about labels on the x axis and on the y axis. This had be learnt at school. We discussed why headings on the columns and on the rows needed to be descriptive – and that their spacing and size need to be appropriate. This led us to a general conversation around if it was possible to label a table in such a manner that one should not have to refer to the text.

We then essayed in the very dimensions of a table. Should a table fit the page, or when was it possible to allow a table to become part of a page. Are columns allowed to be longer than rows or should we look for symmetry?

We know that `a picture may be worth a thousand words’ – but only if the picture is accurate and a true representation of the data. It must be remembered that we started on a discussion on scatter graphs but went on to bar graphs, pie diagrams and trend charts. Some-one suggested that pictograms were useful because we could use cartoon characters.

The scatter graph was duly drawn and admired. A quick diversion followed into what could be measured and charted and this led to a spirited chat about the origin of a graph. One of the children turned the graph upside down and noted that the main heading could be read upside down. This is the sort of useful tactic used by children of all ages to fend off getting back to their own work.

Naturally, being the teacher, I was privileged to be able to demonstrate an ambigram. This is where if you turn something upside down it reads the same. All true eleven plus parents will be able to demonstrate to their children that ambigrams can rotate, appear as mirror images and even form a linking chains.

The lesson changed again and more eleven plus work was done on ambigrams. Will the children ever get a question on an ambigram? Is it possible that they could be offered a question to do with mirror images or rotational symmetry? Where does eleven plus work start and where does it finish? It would take an ambigramist to sort this out. (I could not find the word ambigramist in the dictionary – but you know what I mean.)