Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Math problems of the week: grade 5 Investigations vs. Singapore Math

1. From grade 5 Investigations, Investigation 7, "Name that Portion:"

a. For the first game of the session, 100 people came, and 1/4 of them walked.  How many people walked?

b. For the second game of the season, 200 people came, and 1/4 of them walked.  How many people walked?

c. What fraction of the 100 people did not walk?  What fraction of the 200 people did not walk?

d. How many of the 100 people did not walk?  How many of the 200 people did not walk?

2. From grade 5 Singapore Math (workbook 5a) exercise 13 of "Fractions:"

After spending $30 on a dress, Mary had 3/8 of her money left.  How much money did she have at first?

4/7 of a group of children are boys.  If there are 18 more boys than girls, how many children are there altogether?


Extra Credit:

Enumerate the math skills involved in each problem.

Explain which problem set involves less spoon-feeding by authority figures and more student-centered discovery.

Discuss how the two problem sets reflect the cultural and political differences between American and Singaporean societies.


Catherine Johnson said...

When I first gave C. the placement test for Singapore Math, at the end of 4th grade, he tested into mid-year 3rd grade.

He was already a year and a half behind Singapore kids at age 9.

AND to really make sense of this you have to take into consideration the fact that he would easily test into the top 10% of IQ, and perhaps quite a bit higher (don't know - can only guess from ITBS & ISEE scores).

So here in America, in a high-performing school, a kid testing at the top of the IQ distribution is 1 1/2 years behind everyone in Singapore by age 9.

Catherine Johnson said...

This reminds me of a story a French historian told Ed.

He was a star student in his U.S. high school when he took a junior year abroad in France. He enrolled in the local public high school & in math they put him in the "slow girls track."

Slower than slow!