Friday, July 9, 2010

Math problems of the week: riddles in 2nd grade Investigations vs. Singapore Math




4 comments:

GPC said...

I've never understood the popularity of story writing in Math. Is there supposed to be a point to this? I sometimes wonder if the people who are developing curricula and writing textbooks ever stop and ask what is the purpose of this or that exercise? What are we expecting children to learn from this? Is what they are learning useful? Or are they just trying to make school fun for kids, regardless of a lack of educational benefit?

ChemProf said...

I understand what they are trying to do, but not how they do it. I'm getting ready to teach a math review as part of a summer bridge program, and as part of their review assignment, I have them write their own problems and solve them. But, these are college students and I'm teaching them to look for patterns and types of word problems (since often students with modest math skills see each word problem as a unique thing that is unrelated to any other problem they've seen).

I could imagine a good assignment for a second grader that had several related Singapore math-type word problems, and then asked them to write one of their own. Learning how to write a problem is a good skill to have, since to do it well you need to identify all the key parts of a problem. But giving them the numbers they have to use without any models is just setting them up for randomness and frustration, without teaching them anything.

LexAequitas said...

I suspect the popularity of story-writing is to try to teach application. It always seems a bit forced.

CassyT said...

I suspect the popularity of story-writing is to try to teach application. It always seems a bit forced.

I have used it (infrequently) to allow students an opportunity to explain their thinking. These comments prompted me to finally write a blog post about a book I picked up in Singapore on using journals in the math classroom.

One thought on the Investigations page: How can you ask a second grade child to write and illustrate a funny or silly or serious word problem in so little space? Do the publishers lack knowledge of both content AND pedagogy?