Difficult Math Problems

I went searching for a fun math video on YouTube. The top one that showed up was the Ma and Pa Kettle Math. First, it’s a great video. It cracks me up every time. It is very true though. If you look at how they are doing the math, it all makes sense.

As you can see, when you look at how the Kettle’s are doing the math, it makes complete sense. This is how kids can look at math. When a student gives you an answer you cannot just say it’s wrong. Ask them how they got the answer. They may have a correct answer for the way that they did the problem.

This next video is of a celebrity on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire. If you go and read the comments on the video, people are just rude. First, comments on any type of media just gets trashy. I wish people would grow up. (Alright off my soap box.) I want to give her the benefit of the doubt. The question IS easy, but the way it’s approached is not. Here is a screen shot of the question and answers.

Can I tell you that $1.50 multiplied by 5 is $7.50? Of course! Like I said, the problem is easy. However, when you look at the answers you have to think. I’m a math teacher and I don’t have these 4 answers on the top of my head. So when asking people about this, it is difficult.

As you can see, she can do the multiplication rather easily. Students are the same way. However, when you show them the question and answers in this form, many students will freak out. There are so many factors to this question that it gets scary when you first see it. The main key is to keep students calm and just work through the problem step by step.

There are many times that I share the problem with students to have them solve it. Then I show their answers to choose from and they understand how to do it. However, on state assessments, students see the whole thing at once and they get scared and are unsure of themselves. Why do states set up problems in a way for students to fail? Are we not here to help them?

My job is to help students solve math problems, NOT to teach them how the state will try to trick them on the assessments. This makes it seem as if people are out to get them. Students get scared. This does not make any sense to me. Here is the video of Patricia Heaton with Regis on the show.

You can see that Regis leads her through the answers. Students need assistance at times just like adults. I wish that the state would stop trying to trick students in the wording of questions and answers. Questions like the one on this video is what makes people scared of math. It’s a simple problem made difficult.

*I would like to apologize to Patricia Heaton for the screen shot that I captured. I enjoyed you on Everybody Loves Raymond and her new show The Middle.

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About Anthony Purcell

I am Anthony Purcell and am teaching Science for the first time in the 2011-12 school year. I have also taught middle school math and fourth grade. I am looking at education and trying to figure out what it means to me and how I want to teach.
This entry was posted in 1 million dollars, Assessments, Education, Math, School, Teaching, Testing. Bookmark the permalink.

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