You have 7 minutes. Start now!
Mizzalou, a 12-year-old primadolphilusta, and his sister Kansagoo, a 16-year-old pendagoggle, were hosping to the bigawiggy. The kilteramas cost $5.00 for teens and $4.00 for tweens. At the last minute, Mizzalou and Kansagoo decided to hosp to the bigawiggy by fridgermal. Kilteramas for the fridgermal cost $2.00 for tweens and $2.50 for teens. Once at the bigawiggy, Mizzalou and Kansagoo each wanted to buy a collowalla to burperup. Large collowallas cost $1.35 each and small collowallas cost $1.05 each. Mizzalou had $7.25. Kansagoo had $9.25. Mizzalou really wanted a large collowalla to burperup. How much money would Kansagoo have to loan Mizzalou in order for Mizzalou to buy the large collowalla to burperup at the bigawiggy?*
Time’s up! Did you solve it?
Did you find you needed strategies that you normally don’t use? What strategies did you use? If you solved the problem, did it take you longer than expected?
For some students, reading and comprehending the written text can be challenging. This can be a result of lack of background knowledge about the topic, unfamiliar words and phrases, problems with comprehension skills—to name a few—which have nothing to do with being able to do mathematical computations. As students struggle with understanding, they can become frustrated and, in some cases, give up, or worse, act out.
Solve It! acknowledges the role of reading and comprehension in the Solve It! approach. Solve It! has students first:
- Read the problem for understanding—read, reread, and identify relevant/irrelevant information. This step encourages students to focus on what they understand—or don’t understand—about the written problem.
- Paraphrase—translate the linguistic information by putting the problem into one’s own words without changing the meaning of the story situation. Again, having students repeat the problem in their own words supports their comprehension.
The next step—Visualize—continues to support comprehension by having students transform the linguistic information to form internal representations in memory through a drawing or image that shows the relationships among the problem components.
By the time students have completed these 3 steps, they should understand the problem and be ready to begin solving it.
A version of this activity and others are found in Implementing Solve It! A Professional Development Guide for Facilitators. The book provides extensive staff development activities that help teachers—either working alone, as a team, or large group—learn Solve It!
*Note: This problem could be translated as follows. Michael, a 12-year-old boy, and his sister Kneisha, a 16-year-old girl, were going to the movies. The tickets cost $5.00 for teens and $4.00 for tweens. At the last minute, Michael and Kneisha decided to go to the movies by bus. Tickets for the bus cost $2.00 for tweens and $2.50 for teens. Once at the movies, Michael and Kneisha each wanted to buy a candy bar to eat. Large candy bars cost $1.35 each and small candy bars cost $1.05 each. Michael had $7.25. Kneisha had $9.25. Michael really wanted a large candy bar to eat. How much money would Kneisha have to loan Michael in order for Michael to buy the large candy bar to eat at the movies?