21 May, 2007

Magic Squares

Helping Mo with his homework on Saturday. He had to do a magic square - fit all the numbers from 2 to 17 into a 4 x 4 square, so that all rows, columns and diagonals add up to 38.

I plunged in recklessly assuming that it must be quite easy to do by trial and error, since there was no clue as to how to do it. It was not easy. Several swearwords, curses brought down on the head of his teacher, and an Excel spreadsheet later, I worked it out (at 5am this morning! when something that someone said to me yesterday gave me a way into it). What the hell was she thinking of setting this problem for a bunch of Y5 students? Mo can barely list the prime numbers below 10, let alone wrap his brain round something like this.

PS Mo still has no clue how to do this. I have a slight tendency to take over his homework, forgetting that the point of it is not to discover the square of 5, but for Mo to learn how to do it.


Blogger Songshards said...

Maybe the teacher was testing how many parents would go through the trouble of figuring this out for their kids. If so you passed with flying colours.

2:23 am  
Blogger Fumier said...

"5 am this morning"?

As opposed to 5 am in the afternoon?

3:03 am  
Blogger FBT said...

alright smartarse.

3:23 am  
Blogger dgny said...

I used to get involved in the G's homework while we were still in HK - they're so aggressive about it there! Here, I don't. I just gave up.

When a project was late last term and I got a note home implying my inadequacy, I marched right in to the teacher and said, I've already passed this year of school and I refuse to do it again. She said ok and kept the G in at recess to finish.

5:13 am  
Blogger 962 said...

Teachers there the people who never leave school arent they
Wont have any truck with them

7:12 am  
Blogger Fumier said...

Oh, dear. I suppose I'm in for a spanking from the Phiz now.

8:09 am  
Blogger SMW said...

What's the point of setting an impossible exercise like the one Mo got? So more and more kids can leave school saying 'I hate maths and I never understood it'? Maths can be magical if taught well and sap the confidence if taught poorly. Grrr.

10:25 am  
Blogger FBT said...

Fumie - I was going to administer a spanking. I'm not going to now. Let that be a lesson to you.

10:36 am  
Blogger Fumier said...

Ooh! The exquisite torture.

11:32 am  
Blogger Tiny said...

This seems harder than Sudoku!

10:07 pm  

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