Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Math problems with Benjamin

Benjamin is out of school this week thanks to the chicken pox. His teacher sent some work home for him to do before he goes back.

Today he came to ask for help with this problem:
"A squirrel has 30 acorns. He splits them up between 3 other squirrels so each has the same number. How many acorns does each squirrel have?"

They had a big blank rectangle to draw whatever they needed to help them figure it out. Benjamin drew four squirrels and wanted to divide the 30 acorns among all four. He couldn't understand why I told him we only needed to divide them among three of the squirrels.

So I cut up 30 small pieces of paper and drew three small squirrels on a paper so he could see how to split them up. I said, "I am the squirrel. I give ALL my acorns to these three squirrels. I don't have any left. You see?"

His reply: "But you will be hungry!"

This is why math is hard. Word problems have no compassion.


Ryan said...

On first reading, I took it the same way he did. Does it make more sense in French?

Alisa said...

Not particularly, no. But I was pretty certain that, advanced as I find their work to be, they weren't doing division with remainders yet.

Ryan said...

Who needs a remainder? You just have to chop a couple of the nuts in half.

Jordan said...

Obviously the squirrel giving the nuts away was not the dominant squirrel in the group. The other ones made him give his acorns away. This is what leads to bullying in schools: Word problems.

Ryan said...

This being France, maybe they could've said the squirrel was going to become a monk, and was giving away all his worldly possessions to the other squirrels. Then it would've made sense.

Alisa said...

Except that this is France. The anti-religious country.