Word Problem Wednesday – Dogs and Ropes

“The Internet Is Losing It Over This Second Grade Math Problem,” reads the headline from an article posted online by msn.com. The article goes on to support the student’s mother’s conclusion that, “this isn’t exactly a question most 8-year-olds would understand.”

The problem reads, “There are 49 dogs signed up to compete in the dog show. There are 36 more small dogs than large dogs signed up to compete. How many small dogs are signed up to compete?”

Yes, this is that “new” math. This is the math that second graders will need to succeed as adults. Gone are the days when correctly completing 20 addition or subtraction problems is enough. Problem-solving and logical thinking is what employers are looking for. So, yes, this is a challenging problem, but not a problem we should be avoiding in our schools simply because the internet says it’s too hard.

I agree there is a flaw in this problem, but it’s not in the problem itself, it’s in the numbers that were chosen. Fortunately, the numbers are the least important part of solving a word problem. That stands worthy of repeating. The numbers are the LEAST important part of solving a word problem.

So, what is then? Visualization and comprehension!

Students need to visualize the problem and then represent it with models or pictures. This is why teaching bar modeling is so very important in the early grades.

Here’s a video that shows how easy it is to solve this problem if you focus on visualization first.

 

Any good teacher will follow up a lesson with practice, so here is your Word Problem Wednesday for February.

This problem was taken from Challenging Word Problems 2, a supplement to the Primary Mathematics series:

The total length of two ropes is 36 in. One rope is 4 in. longer than the other. What is the length of the longer rope?

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


The previous problem came from i-Excel Heuristic and Model Approach Primary 5 by Li Fanglan published by FAN-Math:

Bob’s Bikes sold 96 bikes during the week and 1/4  of what was left on the weekend. After that, Bob still had 1/2 of his bikes left. How many bikes did Bob have at first?

Dedicated readers submitted the following solutions, first an image from Shirley Davis:

And a video from Kristine Simonson, who has been using some of the problems with her fourth graders:

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Word Problem Wednesday – Bob’s Bikes

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

This problem comes from an oldie, but goodie: i-Excel Heuristic and Model Approach Primary 5 by Li Fanglan published by FAN-Math

Bob’s Bikes sold 96 bikes during the week and 1/4  of what was left on the weekend. After that, Bob still had 1/2 of his bikes left. How many bikes did Bob have at first?

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


The previous problem came from Dimensions Math 6A by Bill Jackson and Kow-Cheong Yan published in 2016 by Star Publishing Pte Ltd and Singapore Math Inc:

Esther has 3/5 as many e-books as Tim. After Tim deleted 18 e-books, they both had the same number of e-books on their tablets. How many e-books did Tim have at the start?

 

Dedicated reader, Shirley Davis submitted the following solution:

 

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Word Problem Wednesday – e-books

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

This problem comes from Dimensions Math 6A by Bill Jackson and Kow-Cheong Yan published in 2016 by Star Publishing Pte Ltd and Singapore Math Inc: 

Esther has 3/5 as many e-books as Tim. After Tim deleted 18 e-books, they both had the same number of e-books on their tablets. How many e-books did Tim have at the start?

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


The previous problem came from Problem Solving Beyond the Classroom Primary 3 by Bernice Lau Pui Wah, published in 2013 by Marshall Cavendish International (Singapore) Private Limited. published in 2004 by SingaporeMath.com Inc:

Tank A has a capacity of 1 l 820 ml. Tank B has a capacity of 860 ml less than that of Tank A but twice as much as Tank C. Find the Capacity of Tank C.

How did you do?

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Word Problem Wednesday – Tanks

Word Problem Wednesday was such a hit, we’re going to continue through the year!

This problem comes from Problem Solving Beyond the Classroom Primary 3 by Bernice Lau Pui Wah, published in 2013 by Marshall Cavendish International (Singapore) Private Limited. 

Tank A has a capacity of 1 l 820 ml. Tank B has a capacity of 860 ml less than that of Tank A but twice as much as Tank C. Find the Capacity of Tank C.

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


Last month’s problem came 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.

How did you do?

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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?

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