27 votes
Accepted

Should word problems be reasonable?

Absolutely! In fact, in my opinion, the most important "math skill" that should be taught in conjunction with, and using, word problems is checking whether the answers make sense. This is an ...
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21 votes

Don't these word problems seem designed to be confusing?

I think there's a countervailing issue that the book you're describing is trying to deal with. I teach college students, so I don't know what the particular approach it's taking is age appropriate ...
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18 votes

What is the value of sentence type maths problems for primary school students?

Consider these 5 problems: What is $ 35 \div 10 $ ? We are in the store and want to buy packages of party plates for a birthday party. The plates come in packages of 10. There will be 35 children ...
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  • 6,735
17 votes

Should word problems be reasonable?

The answers to a word problem should in my opinion make sense (within reasonable limits). The goal you mentioned that students should check their answers is one shared by many, as also witnessed by ...
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  • 7,572
13 votes

Where can I find realistic data for college-level elementary statistics problems?

DASL (pronounced "dazzle" and short for Data And Story Library) is an online collection of stories with matching data sets to be used for educational purposes. They are real data from real research. ...
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12 votes

Unable to solve word problems, fluent in arithmetic

Does your colleague have any information about these students' reading comprehension? The reason I ask is that, in my opinion, difficulty with word problems is not always a matter of taking the ...
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11 votes

Challenge questions for extremely bright kids

Here are some suggestions for problem sources in English. Some of them are appropriate for very bright students studying geometry or Algebra II, but might nonetheless prove too difficult for students ...
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  • 587
11 votes

What is the value of sentence type maths problems for primary school students?

Professional work in general, and scientific and mathematical work in particular, is done principally in writing. Requirements, specifications, orders, field reports, case studies, journals, grants, ...
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11 votes

Interesting settings for exponential growth or decay

(edited) a. For all of these, I would think to expand the category into subcategories. So not just "bank account" but time value of money and NPV, bond details, etc. You learn something when doing ...
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  • 1,758
10 votes
Accepted

request for evidence about class perspectives in math word problems

Yes, there is evidence for the claim; for example, consult the following: Abedi, J., & Lord, C. (2001). The language factor in mathematics tests. Applied Measurement in Education, 14(3), 219-...
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10 votes

Difficulty with word problem interpretation

I suggest you break it down into smaller parts. In fact, don't start on equations. Start on translation of terms: Double of a number, translation: $2x$ Sum of two numbers, translation: $x+y$ The ...
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  • 2,859
10 votes

Don't these word problems seem designed to be confusing?

I feel like I always post the same thing in these threads, but this again sounds like an issue of blocking vs interleaving. In this case, the textbook may have started interleaving different problems ...
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8 votes

Should word problems be reasonable?

Physically (or even economically) unreasonable answers are confusing. The student needs to be shown that math is a tool that can solve practical problems. Answers that are unreasonable send the ...
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  • 154
8 votes
Accepted

How can I explain ratio problems without talking about ratio?

Have your students covered division and multiplication yet? To me, these problems can all be solved using the "meaning of division" and the "meaning of multiplication". "Meaning of multiplication": ...
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8 votes

Don't these word problems seem designed to be confusing?

I would say that this book is trying to get students to think about what the calculations mean, rather than simply execute an algorithm, and I strongly believe that is something that should be done ...
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  • 16.1k
7 votes
Accepted

Where can I find realistic data for college-level elementary statistics problems?

(I came to mention DASL, but since it's already been mentioned, I'll give some other resources.) opendata.stackexchange.com often has mentions of useful sources of data, some of which are small (and ...
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  • 503
7 votes
Accepted

Explaining the phrase "in terms of"

I do avoid using this phrase in all of my math classes. Not that I've ever thought of it as a particular goal, but I would want to reserve the word "term" to specify an addend. In your first example,...
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7 votes

What is the value of sentence type maths problems for primary school students?

I think you have a very different understanding of what "mathematics" is than I do. Consider the following questions: What kinds of geometric properties are held by the figure you get when you join ...
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  • 16.1k
7 votes
Accepted

Difficulty with word problem interpretation

Recently, I got to teach a new high school class called "Essentials of College Math." It sounds like hard content, but it was basically just a transition course from Algebra II to Precal. Anyways, ...
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  • 1,834
6 votes

request for evidence about class perspectives in math word problems

I only have anecdotal evidence but since you said it was welcome, I am adding my 2 cents from both the perspective of a teacher and an item writer, hired to write questions for standardized tests. ...
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  • 6,735
6 votes

Challenge questions for extremely bright kids

I work with gifted elementary school students, but one of my favorite sites, nrich has challenging problems that you could use for older gifted students. Try looking at secondary problems for stages ...
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  • 6,735
6 votes

Unable to solve word problems, fluent in arithmetic

One of my colleagues introduced me to a strategy called "3 Reads" which he details in his blog Misteristhisright. This strategy has two major features: You remove the question from the problem. The ...
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4 votes

Where can I find realistic data for college-level elementary statistics problems?

This is not a good answer, but I'll mention anyway that Mathematica now connects to vast "curated" data sources. It would take some effort to master these sources, but they could provide endless ...
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4 votes

What is the value of sentence type maths problems for primary school students?

I think there's a very basic answer to this. It's the very origin of math and numbers. Try to teach a child that 1+1=2 without the visual (or tactile) example of using fingers to show the concept of 1 ...
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4 votes

What is the value of sentence type maths problems for primary school students?

There are three direct benefits, as far as I can tell. Word problems answer questions like "why do I need to know this". If you have a student who thinks that learning math is pointless then you can ...
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  • 267
4 votes

Interesting settings for exponential growth or decay

One basic model of atmospheric pressure has it decaying exponentially as a function of height above sea level. Two places to look for this are https://people.clas.ufl.edu/kees/files/...
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  • 1,968
3 votes

Challenge questions for extremely bright kids

The website mathschallenge.net has pdfs of tiered problems with solutions. They are nicely posed problems, often with some humour, and are based on different stages of mathematical maturity. To begin ...
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  • 521
3 votes

What is the value of sentence type maths problems for primary school students?

Perhaps an example would clarify what you mean. Question 1: What number is obtained after reducing 40 by 5%? Question 2: Farmer John has lately been having problems selling his corn. He needs ...
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3 votes

Where can I find realistic data for college-level elementary statistics problems?

An alternate suggestion: EIA.gov has WONDERFUL statistics and easily downloaded. The site has a gazillion pages so you may want to navigate around. But almost all of them that have a table or graph ...
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  • 1,758
3 votes

"Seeing" GCD and LCM in Word Problems

The premise of your question seems to indicate an undesirable precedent. When the students are able to solve a problem correctly it's immaterial what approach they followed. In fact, giving positive ...
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