Problem Solving – One Reason I Love Learning at Home

The following problem came up in Mackenzie’s Singapore Math Challenging Word Problems (1) book today:

An orange weighs 4 units. It is 9 units lighter than a pineapple. What is the total weight of the two fruits?

I was all prepared to help her draw out the problem and work through the steps but instead she slid off her chair at the kitchen table and restlessly paced around, fiddling with things. She returned to her chair less than a minute later and the following conversation ensued:

Mackenzie: “Seventeen. Seventeen is the answer to the whole problem.”

Me, hoping to assess the steps: “How did you get that answer?”

Mackenzie, looking at me like I’m clueless: “I walked around the table thinking about it.”

Me, after stifling a laugh: “Ok, what steps did you take to figure it out?”

Mackenzie: “Oh, 9 + 4 is 13 and that’s how much the pineapple weighs. 13 + 4 is 17 and that’s how much they weigh all together.”

Sometimes problem solving requires some pacing. 🙂

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About beanland

Scott is a family practice doctor and Anne is a full-time mother and teacher to three beautiful girls and one boy.
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