## Friday, May 03, 2013

### An Eleven Plus Elephant

Elephants used to be used in war time because they were big and could carry the `big chief’ or leader into battle. He could also see what was going on from his enhanced vantage point. Eleazar had a an enemy who he vowed to defeat in battle. Eleazar was a real leader but he was up against a King.

Elephants used to wear armour for protection. We now need to build a picture in the mind of our eleven plus pupil of an elephant moving ponderously down a dusty road. King Antiochus was sitting on the elephant looking, we presume, rather kingly.

Eleazar’s great idea was to run under the elephant and stick his spear into the poor beast’s stomach. (Down would come elephant, king and cradle and all.) He therefore girded his loins and executed the deadly dead.

The elephant faltered and fell on Eleazar who was crushed to death.

History does not tell us what happened to the the king.

This battle took place around two thousand years ago.

But the battle for the eleven plus goes on. Some eleven plus questions may appear to be remarkably esoteric!

The captain in charge of the elephants wanted a regular supply of food for them. He did not want to pillage the countryside – he wanted to pay for what he needed. He had a good collection of denarius but only wanted to spend 200. He could buy food at a rate of 15.00 or 20.00 per libra.

The libra was used as a unit of weight. A libra was divided into twelve. How much would it cost for 11 libras of food for 15.00 denarius? Could he afford to buy 11 libras at 20.00? The wily merchant then offered him a twenty percent discount on the more expensive food. How much did it cost for 11 libras at the discount?

It is easy to see how teachers can make numerical reasoning eleven plus questions out of almost anything!