Math 8 – Today the class worked on the above problem. Lots of groups had problems with it, and couldn’t move off the idea that 30% + 45% + 25% = 100%. They couldn’t think of any other thing to do with the numbers.
There was also some nasty misconceptions with adding fractions! Lots of kids did 45/100 + 25/100 + 30/100 = 100/300.
By the third class of math 8 I finally found out what I had to do as a teacher to get the students on the right track. First, I had to make sure that the problem doesn’t turn into a money issue. If students equate the discount to saving money, there will be trouble. Keep the problem centered on saving gas, because everyone agrees that you can’t have a car drive without using fuel. Secondly, I had to really listen carefully to what the students say and really jump in when they say something like “45% of 70”. A ha! What operation is associated with the word “of”? That’s right, multiplication, not addition…
The neat thing about this problem, after I’ve done the good things needed to pull it off, is how engaged the students get. They can taste how close they are to a solution and want to solve it. It was Friday afternoon, the dismissal bell had gone, and I had several kids sticking around to finish their work.