Word Problems–suggestions

Algebra 1 Tutorial

Word Problems--suggestions

Intro

Many students feel that a word problem is too hard, so the result is that they decided to guess if it’s multiple choice. This works some of the time, especially if two or more answer are not possible, most of the time can we weeded down to two answer giving anyone a 50% change at the right answer.

On a test I gave recently, dealing with stock market prices, after several computational problems my students go to a question that stated:

On the chart above, what is the change on Texas Instruments, is the change an increase or decrease?

Since the previous question was asking for a “percent” of increase or decrease on McDonalds stock share, my students wrongly interpreted the question to be asking for the same answer for another stock Texas Instruments which had a decrease of -1.74 on the day given.

Suggestions to strengthen testing ability:
1. Even on timed tests, take the time to read the question fully before even thinking about how to solve it. Annotate as your go through the problem, underlining or circling important information.
2. After calculating an answer–go back and quickly (this time) skim the question to make sure you are done, after all it might be a two-part question. Solving for “x” might only be part one. Using x to find say the length of a side of a triangle might be step two. Many students stop at finding x, and hence miss the question.

I will add more tidbits throughout the year. Check back for shortcuts and ways to solve math the “easy” way.

Ms. J

Sample Problem

52-week 52-week ini Company close change vol high low
high low in 100s
39.63 27.52 txn Texas Instruments Inc 28.85 -1.74 288,012 29.64 28.38

What is the change in Texas Instruments, in the chart above, does the stock increase or decrease in price?

Solution

Corrent answer: decreased by 1.74 from the day before.



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