The questions at the end of the article on NAPLAN testing (a few posts below) were selected from those close to the end of the paper. They are among the harder questions

Question One.

Each person gets two votes. So there will be twice as many votes as people. Add up the number of votes shown by each bar in the graph to get a total number of votes. Divide that total by two. There are twenty-six votes, so there are thirteen people in the club.

Question Two.

I had to stop and think about this one. There are two unknown factors of 96. One factor divided by the other = six. So (at least) one of the two factors is divisible by six.

The next step, unless you are very brainy, is to write down the six times table: 1×6=6,2×6=12, 3×6=18, 4×6=24. We can stop there, because 4×24=96. So we know 4 and 24 are the two mystery factors.

We can check by remembering that the problem tells us their product is 96, and that one divided by the other is 6. 24 x 4 = 96. 24 divided by 4 is 6.

Question 3.

Total weight lifted = 26kgs. The bar weighs 4kgs. So the total amount of weights to be added to the bar is 22kgs. Divide this by two to get the amount to put on each side = 11kgs.

Of the weights shown, what combination will make 11kgs? Three 2kg weights, and one 5kg weight. So to show the total number of weights used, you would shade six 2kg weights, and two 5kg weights.

These questions are not easy – but why should they be? Most of the questions, like problems one and three in my examples, involve  commonplace, real life applications of maths skills.

I won’t wish students and teachers good luck. Too much everyday success or failure is blamed on luck or the lack of it.

With good teaching and conscientious study, you don’t need good luck.