Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mountaingirl Learns Year 10

I was asked to help some Year 10 level homework today - maths and science to be exact. Sure I said - I was a whiz at school - maths was never a problem and while I never did science past Year 10, that is what was in front of me so I smiled broadly and started in.

Then things went ... well not wrong exactly, I just wasn't as proficient as my memory indicated I should have been.

The first maths question was to find the square root of 576 - without using a calculator. Apparently you do this by using a I-wish-I-could-remember-the-name tree. Now I have had done year 10 maths and we never had an trees associated with anything - except (now I think of it) questions involving ascertaining the height of trees using triangulation but I digress. This isn't something I forgot, this is something that wasn't even invented when I was in school. Okay so I had the answer on the next page but looking at that, and seeking the assistance of someone who had googled it, still had me questioning my sanity. I just don't understand!!!!! And I sort of indicated I would have it all fully understood by the morning - so I could pass on this wisdom to the student in question. If I could remember the name I too could google it, but I can't even manage that at this stage!

The other questions were, fortunately, within my skill set. Okay so I had to check some answers to find out the methods they use these days - I mean they invent whatever-they-are-called trees but they still do long division! Please! Short division always did me just fine thank you! And converting weird numbers to decimals is so much easier using the way I was taught (multiply the fraction by 1/100). Sigh ....

Science I was more confident with - although I struggled to find inspiration at school, I am a big follower of Dr Karl and I listen to the Science Show with Robyn Williams each week so I was confident I could do Year 10 science. The first question asked us to identify which of the four provided diagrams illustrated one with 2 protons, 2 neutrons and 2 electrons. Now I was sure that electrons were the ones that swung around the outside but I couldn't remember where this information came from, and the student had marked an answer that I was certain was incorrect but ... well I probably wasn't certain of much at all. Things continued like that - through electric circuits, astronomy, geography, and other sections that still make think of sitting on a hard stool in a science lab that was filled with weird smells..

At about this point my student became distracted (nothing to do with my ums, ers or quizzical looks I am sure) so I continued to work through the mock exam and I am fairly sure that I would have at least passed (assuming 50% is a pass) but again very few of my answers correlated with the student's and I don't have an answer sheet. So do I sit back, confident that after 22 years I could pass Year 10 science (meaning the student failed dismally) or do I listen to that niggling voice in the back of my head that hints viciously that maybe he was right and I might have ... I can't bring myself to say the word.


Abbey said...

I'm so rolling round laughing...they handed me that one..(the answer is 24)...saying whats a factor tree...lol

I said pass that calculator..shieks of 'No we're not allowed! S*it!...

Taught them to check the answer and work backwards..lol..by then they were looking at me oddly..

So taught them to skip the factor tree and do the easy ones.. by this time they were walking out the door...lol

kyles said...

aahhh...i pled ignorance! Numbers confuse me, so I always send them to the mathematical thinkers...giggles! Factor trees I'd never heard of either, tnoy assured me they were around when we were at school tho...hhhmmm