Monday, July 12, 2010


In Year 10 Maths we work from big, heavy textbooks that teach us all the required skills to pass our six common tests, scattered throughout the year, which prepare us for end of year exams. Most of it is skills that I learnt last year, but had forgotten. When learnt twice, I find I don't normally forget anything again, after that, though. It is unfortunate that Maths hasn't given me any paper back with Excellence on yet, but for the most part I am content with Merits in this subject, considering over my one and a half years at college I have received only Merits and Excellences. Upon reading my report a week ago, it was a shame to realize that my total Achieved grades for my time here has rocketed up to three; twice in Maths, showing I must work harder if I want to get Merit (and one in English!?!?).

In the beginning of the year we learnt things such as significant figures and rounding. Decimal places, followed by fractions; simplifying, multiplying and dividing them. Percentages is where I found new strength in knowing that to find one, I must divide the new amount by the old one and then multiply by 100%! A good exercise from this was to find GST tax, which is 12.5% of a figure.

There have been two algebra units this year. The first on manipulation - simplifying, factorizing and expanding, and we've just completed the bit on linear graphs etc. We wrote lines and lines of algebraic expressions; half I got all correct and half all incorrect, proving that sometimes it is the method that can be wrong. Last year I enjoyed factorizing very much, but excelled at solving expressions, and it was similar this year. Some skills on a Year 10 level were a little harder, but when it came to solving out expressions I found myself gliding through all the work quickly and accurately. :)

In between Algebra, we covered Measurement. I find it fairly easy to remember all the formulae, which aided me immensely in the common test.

Of course it was Geometry I anticipated most eagerly. Translating can be practiced, but I think I've mastered Rotation, Reflection and Enlargement. Here we learnt about mirror lines, and symmetry, and learnt how to construct acute angles, angle bisectors, perpendicular lines, perpendicular bisectors, 60˚ angles and equilateral triangles. I did not enjoy parallel line constructing, simply because my teacher taught us a method that differed from the one in our homework book, and differed again from the one in the textbooks, and a different one again was in our workbooks! Yet after much confusion I was on my way with a method taught through a video. It involves crossing the original line, marking a point and duplicating the angle it creates further up with a compass. This similar video shows the method I now use.

The second part of Algebra has just finished. We've learnt linear graphs and gradients, y and x intercepts. At first it didn't make sense but I think I have it sufficiently now!

Apart from two, all my grades so far have been Merits, about which I'm pleased. I got them in Algebra Manipulation, Number and Measurement.

I've just received back an Achieved on my Geometry test. I also got Achieved on our recent Algebra test. However, being Year 10, Achieved is all that matters because the Algebra test got me my very first two credits for NCEA Level One, just because I passed, regardless of the grade! My first two! This year I have the opportunity to earn 37, although it's all for next year, when I need 80 to pass Year 11.

I feel I redeemed myself after our unit on straight line graphs. I got an Excellence in the common test! Furthermore, I got nothing wrong, earning me a 100% Excellence! Perhaps this is the direction I should take in Maths?
A separate assessment was assigned to us on straight line graphs. My teacher wasted no time in telling me how impressed she was with it, and when my peer assessment came back with complete smiley faces I felt sure I had an Excellence in the bag. I am a little gutted I got a Merit ("sooo close to Excellence", according to my teacher).

Year 10's will soon have to undergo the Maths Exam so I hope revision will pay off and I do well regardless of my previous common test grades. From now until November I must digest everything I'm taught.

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