Kids can’t count up to ten. Really ?????

11 Jul


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I’m always looking for newspaper stories to use to illustrate points in my lectures, and last week I came across a particular class. Last Thursday the Daily Mail reported that a third of British five year olds couldn’t count to ten. What is particularly lovely for my purposes is that further into the story the following line appears ‘Some eight per cent of boys cannot count up to ten, compared with five per cent of girls’. Even if one accepts the Mail’s line about poor standards of maths education in the UK, it’s very difficult to make 8% and 5% add up to one third !. There is a great article from which summarises the background to this story.

This is another useful example of encouraging students to read critically, after all, merely my reading the whole of this story one can readily see that it’s somewhat flawed ! I’m going to try this one out with our new cohort of students in their first week in September, as I hope it will establish with them early that they can’t just be passive ‘receivers’ of information.

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