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Two groups of people in silhouette showing the ratio between the numbers of people in each groupI like ratios.  All the introductory skills are performed using whole numbers.  Therefore, I think this is a topic/concept that should be taught in primary schools.  I have found that, when properly introduced, children adapt quite well to this kind of thinking.

I start by calling it sharing.  Every child is familar with the concept of sharing … one for me, one for you, two for you … and can predict how many items each person will have after a given number of cycles.  They do this when dealing cards, for example.

Many students have watched concrete being made.  When I explain how a labourer will have a pile of blue metal (aggregate), a pile of sand, and a supply of cement powder, and how they load the mixer, most of them readily understand the process and can calculate what a labourer would need to do for a double load.  Most can even suggest two methods/sequences for loading the mixer.

In my opinion, it is vital that students learn to set their work out clearly in columns and that, except for the most elementary problems, the first line should consist of column headings.  You will see more of this when I begin adding material here.

Rates compare measurements of ‘like’ quantities, for example two distances or two times or two money amounts.  They are normally written side-by-side separated by colons (:).  All will be revealed as I add material to this page!

We were all deeply impressed with Graeme from the very beginning. [Lucas’] confidence radically changed within only 3 weeks of Graeme’s instruction and assistance. I am sure this was largely attributed to Graeme’s infectious passion and love for his subject, and his high personal level of skill, teaching experience and understanding of mathematics. Lucas always found Graeme could explain concepts so knowledgeably and easily, which really did transform Lucas’ appreciation and enjoyment of the subject. Graeme always gave Lucas assistance and time over and above his hour’s tutoring session. Graeme has developed a wonderful relationship and more of a mentoring role which has been of great assistance and value to Lucas as he faces the pressures of his final year of school.  I have no hesitation in recommending Graeme as an outstanding tutor and friend, and a very wise, knowledgeable and capable teacher of the highest calibre.
Sally T (parent, 2005)

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