The use of imperial measurements outside of the classroom
Lunchtime conversation in the DoodleHQ kitchen often turns towards our own schooling. Today’s nostalgia between a few of the ‘older hands’ centred around how we used to learn maths back in the ‘good old days’.
This traditional way of learning ended with the production of the book ‘Four a Day’ by A.L. Griffiths, first published in 1971. It’s on our shelves as a nod to some of the inspiration it provided for our own product, by the way.
“It says ‘metric edition’!” observed a younger member of the team. “How is it that we’ve been teaching the metric system since 1971, but children still almost always talk in feet and inches, or miles, or pints?”
It’s an excellent point. Those more familiar with government guidance on these matters will note that imperial measurements do still retain a (small) place in the national curriculum.
But, I’d argue, not to the extent that they teach children to talk about their height in feet and inches, or speeds and distances using miles.
Whilst we didn’t agree on what measurements children should be taught in school, we did all agree on one thing: that this is a great demonstration of the fact that children assimilate a significant proportion of their mathematical knowledge outside of the classroom.
And this is especially the case when it comes to practicalities such as cooking, spending money and ‘are we nearly there yet?’ type conversations.
Children want to learn maths because they see it as a life skill: we mustn’t underestimate what we can do as parents — even through the simplest of conversations — to help them on their quest!
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