Thinking about word problems

Posted on July 21, 2013


An idea to bridge to those horrible things called “word problems:” there are math situations where students can get the answer easily, but they haven’t thought about the math they did to get there. Odds are, they didn’t think they were doing math (so, it occurs to me, the “we never use math” means “we never use the stuff we do in class,” because figuring out amounts in real life isn’t “math” because that is Something You Do In School?).
F’rinstance, if I just say “Andrew is 3 years older than Corinth. Corinth is 13…” and we play around with switching and giving the age for Andrew and how we get that… and maybe, maybe, *maybe* — would it be possible that we could teach them that process of reading and organizing the idea into an equation and that that would actually make it easier to keep track of what you were doing?
Hmmm… not sure where that fits into the plan…