Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Numbers, Words and Fire

I always had trouble with word problems in math class in school. I was good in math and I could read well, but when you put the two together it's like I was dyslexic. Whatever was being searched for in those riddles was beyond me. So I felt especially helpless tonight when C was trying to tackle a problem for school and asked me for assistance. Here's the problem:

Kate is 4 years older than Margaret. In 7 years, the sum of their ages will be 70. How old are they now? How do you find Kate's age using Margaret's?

I came up with the right answer, but I can't figure out how to explain how I got it, and the instructions ask for a table to show your work.

Parenting is hard enough with having to teach your kids right from wrong, to stay away from strangers, and which is their right foot and which is their left. But then you throw word problems in and it makes it only that much more difficult. It makes it about x times more difficult.

This evening I was also unable to teach GK how to use a Zippo. I blame this on her weak thumbs, which is going to be something she'll have to deal with her whole life. She gets weak thumbs from her mother.

12 comments:

katherine said...

You should call Nonna for help with logic problems. Or if you're like me, you could just call her for everything!

Stephanie said...

You are lucky to have a former 4th grade teacher like me around in times like this! I'll have GK lighting fires in no time.

Kristy said...

Bring your nose over here and I'll show you how weak my thumbs are.

N one wants to work the problem?

Chip said...

(x+7) + (x+11)=70
kate marg

2x+18=70
2x=52
x=26

Kate is 26, Margaret is 30.

Stacey Greenberg said...

i love word problems.

Stephanie said...

I think Chip just demonstrated why I'm in charge of helping the kids with math. You can be in charge of spelling, hon.

Chip said...

Ooops, got Kate and Margaret backwards there. Probably a result of my adolescent fantasies about that sitcom with the two hot twins in it. Weren't they Kate and Margaret?

warren "D in Calculus" said...

Waite a minute--
Isn't 26 and 30 what their ages will be seven years from now?

The last step would be to subtract 7 from these #s to find their current ages.

22 and 25....
err 20 and 16...
damn i hate rithmetic.

Kristy said...

Chip, where do you get the 11?
See, I could figure out their ages, but I could never express the process in an algebraic equation.

Chip said...

No, Warren, 26 and 30 are their ages now. I already accounted for the difference in time in the equation (the "+7" and the "+11").

K, the 11 comes from 7 years from now, plus the 4 years older that Kate is.

warren "D- in calculus" said...

Like I said, i hate rithmetic...I'm even worse at word problems...and don't even try to get me started on how fractions traumatized me back in 4th grade.

Stacey Greenberg said...

math is hot.