ACARA Crash 2: Shell Game

We’re still desperately trying to find the time to properly go through the Daft Curriculum, and we hope to have some longer posts in the coming week. Until then we’ll try to keep things ticking over, sniping a little each day.

This is a short one, and can be thought of as a WitCH or a PoSWW. It is a Content-Elaboration for Year 6 Algebra. We won’t comment now, except to note that we cannot see how any competent and attentive mathematician (or grammaticist) would sign off on this. The consideration of possible corollaries is left for the reader.


recognise and distinguish between patterns growing additively and multiplicatively and connect patterns in one context to a pattern of the same form in another context


investigating patterns on-Country/Place and describing their sequence using a rule to continue the sequence such as Fibonacci patterns in shells and in flowers.

18 Replies to “ACARA Crash 2: Shell Game”

  1. Recognise and distinguish between patterns.

    This part is fine.

    Then someone decided that it needed to be “improved” so that no teacher could actually understand it without paying for some PD.

    (I can’t think of a better explanation for not putting the full stop after 5 words)

    1. RF, I agree with all you say. And yes, the PD snake-oil salesmen are going to have a field day. It’s a dream come true. I wonder how many of the snouts in the trough will have affiliations to ACARA? The snouts won’t have any idea either but will con many teachers and make a lot of money.

      Where is ACARA getting this bullshit from? There must be primary sources … If you try and use something like as a ‘resource’, it’s no wonder that teachers and students are going to be fucked. Look at what this ‘resource’ says about y = ax + b

      I have no idea what is meant by a pattern growing multiplicatively. I initially thought it might mean an exponential/geometric pattern and ACARA are just dumbing down the language to the point in incoherence. Then I did an internet search, read the above ‘resource’, and thought it might mean a linear relationship that passes through the origin. But then the above ‘resource’ contradicts itself. Do the ACARA morons writing this blather actually understand any of it or are they just hiding behind fancy words that mean nothing? What are ACARA’s primary sources? It’s all just smoke and mirrors to try and sound impressive.

      It’s clear that ACARA INcorrectly thinks that a Fibonacci sequence is an example of a pattern growing additively … I have no idea what what’s meant by a pattern growing additively. Again, I initially thought it might mean an arithmetic sequence and they’re just dumbing down the language to the point in incoherence …

      How are the dunces who are writing this bullshit actually being held accountable?

      And of course everything has to be linked to the woke-driven Country/Place. Let’s right a wrong by forcing a ham-fisted disproportionate knee-jerk reaction on everything. A disproportionate knee-jerk from a bunch of jerks jerking off.

      I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that there are primary sources that are either:
      1) being misused by ACARA cretins, or
      2) defective. It wouldn’t be the first time a defective primary source gains authority because it keeps getting quoted, particularly in education ‘research’.

      1. JF, that was pretty much my reaction to the content descriptor. What’s wrong with just saying “arithmetic sequences and geometric sequences (with positive common ratios only)”?

  2. I don’t understand what the elaboration means… “on-Country/Place”?

    If their goal is to limit the scope of how complex the recurrence relation is in determining the next term, they have totally failed.

    I have often wondered how teachers know if a given pattern has the right complexity or not, especially new teachers.

      1. Thanks, JF. For the life of me I couldn’t parse “on-Country/Place, and in fact I still can’t. I now understand the grotesque and mind-drillingly pointless “Country/Place” thing, but what is the “on-” doing? Does this also have some secret meaning?

        1. My best guess, Marty: It’s meant to be of-Country/Place but the blather they’re copying from has a typo.

      2. I didn’t think I was asleep… and anyway, I think I am going to fail this class because I followed your link and still have no idea what this is supposed to mean in relation to patterns and sequences in Year 7 math class :(.

        1. Don’t feel bad, Glen. Having looked at the link, I still have no idea too!! The link provides definitions, but then contradicts those definition with its example. Not that its definitions make much sense … But it’s those sorts of links that Grade 6 teachers will be looking for and trying to make sense of. The real danger is that they \displaystyle will make sense of it …

          That’s why I want to know what sources are ACARA using, where are they getting this blather from? It’s unintelligible jargon, and it hasn’t been invented by ACARA. It’s safe to say that where there’s unintelligible jargon, there’s an ‘educator’ that has no understanding. Can ACARA give a definition to the jargon its using? I very much doubt it.

          Glen, I should be worried if you \displaystyle can make sense of either the link or ACARA!

  3. This is hilarious. There’s still more to find.

    Thank you all for posting so far. Of course everyone is spot on with the muddy idiocy and fundamental wrongness of the Content-Elaboration, and you are all correct to hammer the hell out of it. As usual with these WitCH-like things, you point out and clarify absurdities that had not occurred to me.

    But — and I find this really, really funny — no one has yet pointed out either of the two idiocies that prompted me to post on this crap. This is not a criticism of you critics, and I think you are correct to focus on the fundamental unworkability/meaninglessness of the thing. But I find it really funny that no one has been able to wade far enough into the swamp to catch the things that made me react “this is bullshit”, and which motivated the post.

    Plus, the grammar. Does ACARA have some stupid rule about not using punctuation? Would it kill them to use a fucking comma or two?

  4. I guess what they are saying, is we should have a lesson where we take kids outside and get them to rip the petals off the flowers and count them, and hope that some of them match up with Fibonacci numbers. But a lot won’t because generally flowers are missing some petals. (And how to count the petals on a grevillea?) Then we can announce when they match the Fibonacci numbers as if it is a miracle. The students will just be counting though, so what do they really learn? At least they will get some time in the sun.

    1. Thanks, wst. That’s one of the two stupids that motivated this post.

      All the poor kids can possibly “discover” is the pre-determined, and almost certainly false, conclusion that the teacher is being ordered to jam into the exercise. It’s not a mathematical activity, it’s a religious activity. But, as you note, at the least the budding little pantheists will get some time in the sun.

      1. Actually that was a stupid that occurred to me. But I figured you’d already posted so well on this sort of stupid Fibonnaci in nature and the universe ( and that it could go unsaid. I was more mesmerised by the fact that ACARA think that a Fibonacci sequence is an example of either one of their idiot additively or multiplicatively growing patterns.

  5. I’m guessing (based on past postings) you might be referring to Fibonnacci patterns in shells as more of the “golden ratio” type rubbish that is (approximately) there if you look for it really hard and ignore all other possibilities?

    1. And we have a winner. (And it’s not ACARA). Thanks, RF.

      What can “Fibonacci patterns in shells” possibly mean?

      If it really means Fibonacci then I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. I’ve never heard of it, there’s no reason to believe it, and I cannot find any sign that anybody believes it.

      If it means golden ratio then it’s complete nonsense. The golden ration is not in shells, not even approximately. And, it is entirely unrelated to the Content on sequences.

      I’m starting to suspect the Draft was written by an AI program.

  6. When I read that bit about additive and multiplicative patterns and their connection, I immediately thought of index laws and logarithms, both of which are beyond year 6. My confusion was in no way helped by the sudden appearance of the Fibonacci sequence out of nowhere.

    And here’s where we see in full flower (ha!) the muddy and disordered thinking of ACARA. Yes indeed, the Fibonacci sequence is wonderful, has many lovely properties, and you can count seeds in sunflower heads and be amazed! but really – what does the Fibonacci sequence have to do with the backbone of a mathematics curriculum? At this stage it’s merely an interesting offshoot; something maybe you can give the kids who finish their work first. I don’t see any connection between the Fibonacci sequence and “multiplicative patterns”; such multiplicate patterns would involve looking at powers of irrational numbers; certainly way beyond year 6.

    So instead of doing some hard thinking about mathematics learning, and carefully scaffolding topics, we fill the time with what are essentially mathematical non-sequiturs.

    So this will be a double whammy in two ways: it reduces the amount of time students could actually be learning, you know, real mathematics, and it will give them an artificially superficial notion of the Fibonacci sequence, and its own mathematics.

    What a heap of crap.

    1. Alasdair, any time you want to take over the blog, I’m very happy to retire.

      Just one note on your excellent whack. You might be correct that the intent is to count the spirals in sunflower heads, although the phrasing suggests to me otherwise: the plural “flowers” and no mention mention of “heads”. But even if it is the spiral thing, and ignoring the fundamental pointlessness and wrongness, it’s a pretty awful activity for Year 6. If you’ve ever tried to count those spirals, you’ll know how damn hard it is. The main technique to get Fibonacci, is to look, e.g., for 13, and then damn well find 13.

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