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Elementary Experiences - Mrs. Cheryl Johnson

Monday, 22 February, 2016 - 11:41 am

From the Desk of Mrs. Johnson

4th Grade General Studies

Can you solve these math problems?

1.   Sarah is planning a surprise birthday party for her brother.  She is inviting 36 people besides her brother and herself.  Six people can sit at each table.  How many tables will Sarah need for the party?

2.  Isaac, Yakov and Daniel are brothers.  Isaac is 8.  Yakov is twice as old as Isaac.  Daniel is 4 years younger than Yakov.  How much older is Daniel than Isaac?

3.  Estie bought 24 treats to feed her dog.  She wants to give her dog two treats a day.  She says that after 10 days, she’ll still have 4 treats left.  Is she correct?

These problems are typical of the kind of work the 4th graders are doing in math right now.  They come from our Pearson “Envision” math program.  We adopted this program about 3 yrs. ago.  It’s based on common-core principles, and is focused on getting kids to think and reason in a mathematical way.   So instead of just learning algorithms (methods for solving specific kinds of math problems) and practicing how to compute answers, kids now read and analyze problems.   They identify given information, and any missing information they need; they also figure out which mathematical operations they need to perform to solve the problem.  Then they compute the answer.

As a teacher, I’ll admit that it took me a little while to get used to the program, because it involves a different way of looking at math.  But now that I’ve made the transition, I see real power in the program.  Kids are thinking about math at a much deeper level, and are using it in much more sophisticated ways.   I invite you to peek over your child’s shoulder as s/he does the math homework, and you’ll see what I mean!

(Answers to the problems:  1 = 7 tables, 2 = 4 years, 3 = yes.)

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