Friday, July 8, 2011

Math problems of the week: 2nd grade Everyday Math vs. French Math

A. The final multiplication word problems in the Everyday Math grade 2 Student Math Journal:

1. 3 vans full of people. How many people in all?

[picture of a van] vans people per van people in all
Holds 10 people ________ ___________ __________

Number model: ___ X ___ = ____

2. 4 insects on the flower. How many legs in all?

[picture of a ladybug] insects legs per insect legs in all
Has 6 legs ________ __________ _________
Number model: ___ X ___ = ____

3. 9 windows, How many panes in all?

[picture of a window] windows panes per window panes in all
Has 4 panes ________ ___________ _________

Number model: ___ X ___ = ____

B. The sample grade 2 (CE 1) multiplication word problems from Professeur Phifix, a web resource for French curriculum materials (translated from the French):

For each problem, write down the calculation and a sentence as your answer.

Mr. Doudou wants to buy three armchairs for his vacation home. He decides not to spend more than 300 Euros. He goes to a store and finds armchairs at 35 euros each. He goes to another store and sees some for 28 euros, but these ones he doesn't like as much.

Can he buy the chairs from the first store, or must he buy those from the second store?

A person wants to take a 7 day trip to Greece. He goes to a travel agency which proposes to him a trip at 68 euros a day. The plane trip lasts 3 hours.

What is the total cost of this trip?

A school puts on a show to raise money for a computer. Tickets cost 6 euros. 234 people attend the show.

How much money was raised?

III. Extra Credit:

Can differences between French and American culture explain why American students are doing single digit multiplication and filling out forms while their French counterparts are doing multi-digit multiplication and working things out on their own?

[Another problem I've recycled from earlier, inspired by recent arguments made in defense of Reform Math that invoke culture and politics. People need need to remember that it's not just the Singaporeans (and the East Asians), but also the French (and the Europeans), who use a significantly more challenging, and more traditional, math curriculum].