Word Problem Wednesday – Passengers

Word Problem Wednesday was such a hit, we’re going to continue through the year with one problem a month.

This week’s problem comes from Primary Mathematics Intensive Practice 6A published in 2004 by SingaporeMath.com Inc:

There were 75% more adult passengers than children on a bus.  After 1/2 of the children had gotten off at a bus stop, there were _______% more adults than children left on the bus.

Submit your solutions and we’ll post all interesting strategies.

The problem posted August 30th came from Primary Mathematics Challenging Word Problems 6 by Joseph D. Lee, published in 2006 by Panpac Education Private Limited.

The number of Jason’s cards and the number of Frederick’s cards are in the ratio of 5:8. The number of Frederick’s cards and the number of Steven’s cards are in the ratio of 4:3. If Jason has 18 fewer cards than Frederick, how many cards does Steven have?

Intrepid reader Shirly Davis sent in her solution:

Whew! How did you do?


Throwback Thursday – Bar Model Solutions – by Students

Over the summer, we thought it would be fun to run some of the most popular posts from the past. It’s always interesting to see how students’ minds work. When I re-read a post from the past I always take away something different because I am in a different place with my own experience. Perhaps you are as well!

Bar Model Solutions – by Students!

Originally published 4/12/2016

After the post on Assessing Bar Model Solutions went up, Beth Curran sent a message: “We just did that problem!” She agreed to share some student work:

boys and girls 2

boys and girls 3

boys and girls 5

And when the students didn’t draw a model:

boys and girls 4

I see this as a comparison problem:

thinking blocks

5 units -> 125 students
1 unit -> 125 ÷ 5 = 25
7 units for boys -> 7 x 25 = 175 boys in all

(That’s the Thinking Blocks Model Drawing tool that allows you to insert your own word problems and solve – or you can use the pre-made questions!)



Word Problem Wednesday – Gavin and Howie

Summer’s here, but you’re missing your math? Don’t despair –  we’ve got you covered. Check the site each week for one whopper of a word problem that’s sure to challenge!

This week’s problem comes from New Syllabus Mathematics Strategies Primary 3 by Yee Fook Shiong, published in 2007 by Educational Publishing House Pte Ltd.

Gavin has 356 cards. He has 286 more cards than Howie. How many cards must Gavin give to Howie so that they both have the same number of cards?


Submit your solutions and we’ll post all interesting strategies next week.




Word Problems and Bar Models from Literature

I’ve enjoyed Denise Gaskin’s Let’s Play Math blog since at least 2007!  I shared her site when the problems for Mr. Popper’s Penguins were first published.

She has a new book of word problems tied to literature: Word Problems from Literature: An Introduction to Bar Model Diagram

I immediately bought a copy for my Kindle (a steal at only  $3.99).

Here’s a sample from the chapter entitled Moving Toward Algebra: Challenge Problems:

Denise provides step-by-step solutions with bar models. Here’s just a teaser of the solution to Han Solo’s problem:

This looks to be a great resource for some motivating and just darn fun problems.





4,000 Teachers, 100,000 Students: Celebrating 7 Years with BER

DSC_0797 (2)In 2008, I left teaching in the classroom to champion Singapore Mathematics and expand its reach to elementary schools and children everywhere. The following year, the Bureau of Education and Research (BER) gave me an amazing opportunity to pursue this goal by presenting Singapore Math workshops throughout North America.

Some attendees at my BER seminars came with prior knowledge about the Singapore curriculum, but a bigger number were being introduced to Math from Singapore for the first time.

At a Seattle workshop earlier this year, BER’s Mark Ita surprised me (and other attendees) by presenting me with a handsome plaque, which read, in part:

In Recognition of Your Distinguished Teaching and Your Outstanding Contribution to the Education Profession

4,000 Teachers, 100,000 Students

DSC_0800 (1)The stats scribbled on a Post-It Note on the back of the plaque included some tangible data to support this statement:

  • 165 Seminars
  • 4,000 Teachers
  • Over 100,000 Students
2016-05-12 (1)

Cassy with BER’s Mark Ita

It is highly satisfying to know that I have impacted this number of teachers and students through my BER presentations. On the other hand, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that there are about 35.2 million Pre-K to Grade 8 students in the United States. Clearly, there is much more work to be done!

I am very grateful to BER for giving me the opportunity to present Singapore Math workshops on their behalf over the past seven years. Sincere thanks to Rich, Boyce, Mark, Nargis, Lisa and the entire travel logistics team, and the dozens of project managers who have provided encouragement and support along the way. Thank you so much!