Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Math problems of the week: grade 3 Investigations vs. Singapore Math

1. From the end of Today's Math 3, the Investigations workbook for grade 3:

How can 6 people share 8 hot dogs?  You may draw a picture to help you.  Then explain your answer.

How can 6 people share 8 pencils?  You may draw a picture to help you.  Then explain your answer.

2. From the end of Primary Mathematics 3B, the Singapore Math workbook for grade 3:

Give your answer in its simplest form.
1/8 + 5/8
1 - 7/12
9/10 - 5/10
2/5 + 1/5 + 2/5

Write each amount of money as a fraction of a dollar.

Perhaps there's a pencil shortage in Singapore, where the schools don't give children opportunities to investigate, and reflect on, how breaking pencils into pieces isn't the best way to share them. 

But perhaps the Singaporeans' superior quantitative skills training makes them better than we at manufacturing, distributing, selling, and buying new pencils.


K9Sasha said...

How can 6 people share 8 pencils?

Each person gets one and the other two are put in the center of the table for later?

This question makes no sense in the real world.

lefty said...

It's wonderfully ironic. Reform Math purports to make math more relevant to the real world, and yet what they come up with often makes no real world sense whatsoever.

K9Sasha said...

My husband suggested that in the hot dog problem, the kids are supposed to figure out that the two left over can be made into fractions for the six people to share, while in the pencil problem, the kids figure out that there is a remainder of two.

concernedCTparent said...
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concernedCTparent said...

I despise that type of poorly worded question that pretends to be math.

6 people can share 8 pencils easily. Everyone gets a pencil. What's the big deal? If they are colored pencils they take turns.

The one about the hot dogs doesn't say anything about sharing evenly, does it? Maybe a couple of people have only half a hot dog each. The possibilities are endless.

This isn't math. This is an exercise in futility.