Sunday, January 2, 2011

Oh, I love Ray's!

Just preparing some word problem questions for dd since she said she would like more. I thought I'd start off with questions that are easy, but at first glance, you do have to think. A small challenge, but easy to figure out numerically.

I pulled out my copy of Ray's New Intellectual Arithmetic--these are books that were used in many US schools in the late 1800s. Now, the website says "grades 3 and 4", which, numerically, is about right. However, if a student is not used to doing word problems, these can be good for just about any age! Nice little math thinking problems. I've not seen a modern text have such questions so young. I think it shows how good this program was for developing mental math skills. Which, I think many might agree, are sorely lacking today. Maybe I'm just too old--I remember the days of cash registers NOT telling the teller how much to give back in change and the teller actually had to count it out and proved they were giving you the correct change. Now, the till tells them, they count it out and just say this is your x amount of change. Of course, if they goof on how much you've handed over, a good too many of the younger ones kind of stare and have no clue how to figure out how to give you the correct change back. But I digress.

Here are some great word problems that could definitely be used in a Montessori environment. Print them out on cards, put them in their own box, and voilà! Since dd is older and not interested in cards, I'm just making a worksheet for right now. I could see ds potentially liking the idea of cards, though, and just flipping through and picking the ones he wants to do. In any case, here are some of the examples:

The difference between two numbers is 7: if the larger be 12, what will 8 times the smaller be?

If $3 gain $1 in a year, what will $12 gain in double the time?

Bought 6 quarts of berries, at 8 cents a quart; sold 4 quarts at 10 cents a quart, and 2 quarts, at 12 cents a quart: how much did I make?

Of course, they have normal questions, like "Seven times 9 are how many?", but they add in other little things like, "How many are 2 times 3 times 4?" It's a nice variety, and nice thinking tied in! And that's just early in this "grade 3-4" book. I just opened it up randomly near the back. Here is one of the questions: 1/3 of a certain number is 2 more than 1/2 of 12: what is the number?

I love it! :D

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