Thursday, July 17, 2008

Math problem of the week: 4th grade Trailblazers vs. Singapore Math

1. From the final word problems in the Math Trailblazers Discovery Assignment Book:

Michael, Shannon, and Jessie decided to create a movie library for their neighborhood.  They asked parents and teachers to donate children's videos to create a library.  Neighborhood residents could take out a children's movie for free if they bought one in as a trade. In the first week of the drive to collect movies, Michael collected 17 boxes. Each box was filled with 22 movies. How many movies did Michael collect?

Shannon collected 11 boxes with 27 movies in each. How many movies did Shannon collect?

Jessie and her friends collected 36 boxes with 15 movies in each. How many movies did they collect?

2. From the final word problems in Singapore Math's Primary Mathematics, 4B:

Gene walked 5 times around a rectangular field measuring 45 yd by 20 yd. How many yards did he walk altogether?

Alan used 3/4 of his money to buy a watch which cost $45. How much money did he have left?

The perimeter of a rectangle is 30 in. The width of the rectangle is half its length. Find the area of the rectangle.

Extra credit:

Which problem set involves more rote repetition of a given algorithm?

Which problem set is more accessible to children with language impairments?

Estimate the percentage of American 4th grade math teachers who can do all three of the Singapore word problems.

1 comment:

Mrs. C said...

Hello! I'm glad I found your blog. Not only are you math-y (which I am not) but you have at least one autistic child. Ah, someone who understands.

I have two children diagnosed on the spectrum (PDD-NOS) and one bitsy one just under two who doesn't speak and am not ready to test. I homeschool the one who just turned 8 and have sent the 13-year-old to public school.

I think your problems are VERY INTERESTING in that we have the everyday math at home but I want to supplement with other things. I decided AGAINST the Singapore because the word problems would just be too much. We did the testing for it and it was amazing how LITTLE my then 6 and 7 year-olds were able to do. But they can multiply. They can add, subtract, whatever... but the word problems just don't seem to work.

We're doing Horizons which I'm "ok" with but not amazingly enthused. I think one of the strengths of a "spiral" curriculum is that the kids can't get away with just learning something short-term and then forgetting it.

FWIW I'm not sure that I wouldn't pull a few teeth out by the roots trying to teach the Singapore math, but every few months I'm on their website thinking about it anyway. We homeschool year-round and will be done with third-grade math in about February. I'm guessing because we work until we understand the concepts, then do the next thing, etc.

I enjoy reading some of the older posts but am just stopping by for a friendly hello!