Figure hugging with Monroe

26th May 2006 at 01:00
Every remedial maths pupil knows that the squaw on the hippopotamus equals the sum of the squaws on the other two hides. Also, they don't do division, they do "guzinters" - because six "goes into" 60 ten times. And, though a tad sexist, top-heavy fractions are still made memorable by calling them Marilyn Monroes.

Imagination is a wonderful thing and the best maths teachers have pots of it. They know the beauty of maths is in the language as much as the numbers. So the back to boring (sorry, basics) lobby should back off.

The Mathematical Association is right to reprimand government advisers for a putative national numeracy strategy that ignores a decade of teaching improvements (page 12 and 13). The advisers get full marks for effort but, for achievement, in the words of the Eurovision Song Contest judges: "Nul points."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today