Sunday, January 06, 2013

An Eleven Plus Dialogue

A bright and able girl arrived home late one afternoon. “Mum, we were doing some mathematics at school today and met this problem.”

“Well, I hope I can help.”

“If everyone had only two names, a Christian name and a surname, how many distinct pairs of initials could there be?”

“Were you given this question in your eleven plus booster class with your head teacher?”

“Yes, there were only three of us today, and we had to wait for quite a long while.”

“What other sums were you given to work on?”

“We had a work sheet with square numbers, square roots and numbers to the power of three. We also did some work on probability. That was easy.”

“Is there a clue with the work on numbers? You mean if you start with the letter `a’, how many combinations can there be?”

“I suppose 26 – because there is a, b, c, d and so on.”

“So if we add `b’ we now have another 26?”

“Mum, I know the answer, 262.”

“What is that?”

“26 times 26. Just wait. I know. It must end in 6 because 6 times 6 is 36. It must be 6 7 6!”

“Well done, dear!”