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Diamond vs Kite (M+S decides)

July 10, 2011

I’ve just been putting my youngest to bed and we ‘read’ a book called Shapes! From Marks and Spencers. It says on the front it’s for ages 0+.

Now, I seem willing to let the egg vs oval page slide as although I think eggs aren’t elliptical, I think oval is just one of those slightly weird words.
Slowly over the past ten years I’ve mellowed slightly and refrained from shouting at people “It’s not a diamond, it’s a rhombus. Diamonds are things men buy in rings when they want someone to marry them.”
I think my question is ‘how annoyed about this should I be?’ If it was a spelling mistake or something like 2+3=4 then it wouldn’t get past the printing stage (I hope). However, that kite as shown is categorically NOT a rhombus [or diamond] and I’m wondering how this got past the several stages of proof reading.

The other thing I wonder is therefore, ‘how much does it impact on people’s lives if they believe a kite can be called a diamond?’



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  1. Ellie Dix permalink

    Worthy of a letter of complaint to M&S. You should be cross. I’m cross now too. People get confused enough about maths without having things in print that are just plain wrong. If we are teaching our children incorrect maths vocabulary at a young age, then children have to unlearn and relearn at school. Not OK.

  2. singinghedgehog permalink

    I have also tried to mellow over the past twenty or so years with regard to a variety of pet peeves but rhombus/diamond is one that still grates! I do find that once the children are correctly ‘programmed’ they can be effective at ‘educating’ colleagues: being berated over a cup of coffee because my young lieutenants have told their teacher, "That’s wrong, Mr H says it’s a rhombus not a diamond" still gives me a warm glow! However, in this case M&S are just plain wrong and need telling so.

  3. Anonymous permalink

    Thanks for your comments. Ellie – I will try a letter (or email) to M&S although I don’t have a lot of luck with contacting companies about this kind of thing.(that’s probably something for another post). I agree that having to unteach/reteach things is very irritating but I still wonder – why does it matter that that shape has two names? Addition has plenty of names and no-one seems too upset about it.Singinghedgehog – I fully hope that my children will be happy to correct their teacher/s when the time comes. You have trained yours well.

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