Problem of the Week

I have a deep love of Reading and also Mathematics. I want students to love Math too and to delve deeply into the subject. The best word problems are complex, authentic, and can be accessed on multiple levels. They can come from real life: How many books do you have in your room? How many forks do we have? What is the total number of plates, glasses, forks, knives, and spoons in our house?

Our first Graph of the week was on the question: How many pets do you have? The choices were 0, 1, 2, or 3 or more

One child said, “I don’t know what to say. I have two pets at one house and zero at the other. Which do I choose for the survey?”

Another child asked, ” Do dead pets count? I used to have a cat but she passed away?”

I told children that the thing about surveys is that they best ones are open to interpretation and reflect the needs of the people being surveyed. So we decided that the new question was “How many total pets do you have (at all houses) ?” and that you may choose whether or not to include pets that are no longer with us. So, by that definition, some children in our room have over 99 pets.

Here’s is this week’s problem: (This one happens to be a true story)

On Saturday, Mr. Peter went to a library booksale. The sign said, “all books are $1”. Mr. Peter asked the people in charge of the sale if he could have a better price because he’s a teacher and is purchasing books for a school. They said he could have 1 bag of books for $10. Which is a better deal, $1 per book or $10 per bag? Mr. Peter bought 3 bags of books. Please answer the questions below:

A) If there are 20 books in the first bag, how much is each book?

B) If there are 26 books in the second bag, how much is each book?

C) If there are 30 books in the third bag, how much is each book?

D) Do you think chapter books and picture books and fiction and non-fiction should all be the same price? What would you charge if you were running the sale? Below, write your own word problem (and the solution) that you’d like to share with the class. The problem could be about books, or cookies, or toys, or anything else you can imagine.


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