# Year 8 optional test 2011 - Is oblong correct?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by lizlucy, Jun 1, 2011.

1. ### lizlucyNew commenter

In year 8 optional test 2011 level 5-7 it asks pupils to explain differences between a square and an oblong.
I always use rectangle and tell pupils that oblong is incorrect.
Wikipedia says "Oblong, a rectangle whose length is greater than its width (i.e. not a square)"
Be glad to know what other people think?

2. ### NazardNew commenter

Not at all. Post 2 in this thread says it all.
I like the word 'oblong', not least because the vast majority of Yr 7/8 pupils can be told: "you know that shape you call a rectangle? Well the proper name for that is an 'oblong'. A rectangle is actually a quadrilateral with 4 right angles."

3. ### siddons_sara

The most positive I've found anywhere is 'occasionally used' or 'sometimes used'.

As I've said, I'll admit my mistake but I know I've not been alone in making it.

And I still think that national tests should not be making questions hinge on words that, at best, are used 'occasionally'.

4. ### NazardNew commenter

I like the relational diagram between quadrilaterals. I also like the word 'oblong' (because almost every pupil I have ever taught wants a word for a non-square-rectangle...).
Unfortunately some people define a trapezium as having exactly one pair of parallel sides, so this wouldn't work for them. Amongst these people (with whom I disagree) is the great "Mathsisfun":
http://www.mathsisfun.com/definitions/trapezoid.html
I can cope with them calling a trapezium a 'trapezoid', but defining a 'regular trapezoid' ... ?

5. ### brookes

I only knew the definition as having one pair of parallel sides (have I been teaching this wrong for so many years?). I have never come across the concept of a regular trapezium though - surely isosceles trapezium makes more sense?

6. ### florapost

augh! we have said elsewhere, 'trapezoid' is a word best avoided unless you are never planning to speak to any american, ever, nor teach any child who is going to speak to any american ever
'regular trapezium/trapezoid' is idiotic- miss post sussed that at age 9 - seeing the definition of a regular pentagon is equal sides and angles - i like isosceles trapezium, too - i thought it was in common parlance these days, but maybe that's only this side of the atlantic

7. ### Polecat

I'm happy with the term isosceles trapezium - just a truncated
isosceles triangle,
A regular trapezium is a square. I'd call that a square.

8. ### NazardNew commenter

Unless you believe, as mathsisfun appears to, that a trapezium has exactly one pair of parallel sides, in which case a 'regular trapezium' can't exist!

9. ### kevchenko13

Thought I'd just ride one of my hobby horses along here - and I've probably said this on the forum before - but it's a bit silly that knowing all the properties of different quads is in the GCSE criteria but Venn diagrams are not. It gets fiddly. An illustrative example, which I'm making up :
John draws a quadrilateral. It has four right angles, two pairs of parallel sides and its diagonals bisect each other at right angles.
What is the special mathematical name for John's quadrilateral?
Now, we would want students to give the answer 'square'. We know and accept that the set of rectangles or parallelograms or rhombuses includes the set of squares but in this sort of question we want students to show us that they know the perpendicular diagonals and four right angles means we are looking at the special case - and hence the word 'special' in the demand.
Also, from a practical perspective, if you didn't do this you'd be giving credit for any one of four answers...

10. ### siddons_sara

I agree, adding the word 'special' ahead of 'mathematical name' is a good way to imply that square rather than rectangle/parallelogram/rhombus is the word required.

To return to the OP: has the word 'oblong' ever come up in a GCSE exam?

And which version of trapezium do you work from?

Sorry to ask so many questions.

11. ### DeborahCarolNew commenter

My googling finds that Archimedes defined a trapezium as:
'precisely two parallel sides'
Apologies if someone has already said this.

12. ### Polecat

On reflection, I think it is best to avoid trapezia, let alone
trapezoids and the curious UK/US confusion.
BTW, what Archimedes did, said or thought, is only
known through a sequence of transcribers, translators and
interpreters.

13. ### kevchenko13

The GCSE statement (outgoing specs) on this reads "recall the definitions of special types of quadrilateral, including square, rectangle, parallelogram, trapezium and rhombus; classify quadrilaterals by their geometric properties. Includes a kite." So we wouldn't test the word oblong in a question and would use rectangle.
For trapezia, we work with the one pair of parallel sides version (Q.6): http://www.ocr.org.uk/download/pp_09_mar/ocr_34878_pp_09_mar_l_gcse_b275a_01.pdf
The accepted answers being 'one pair of parallel sides' or 'two parallel sides' for this question.
Kevin

14. ### FlippantFlyer

I would just like to add that 'oblong' is a horrid sounding word such that I avoid using it at all costs. Rectangle is a much more attractive word when pronounced

15. ### siddons_sara

Kevin, many thanks for this and in particular the exam question, the wording of which is extremely nice. Hats off to whoever wrote that one, a world away in terms of quality from the oblong question this thread started with.