Thursday, October 19, 2006

Word Problems

I'm looking for examples of word problems for one of my math classes to help them learn how to use the process of elimination. I'm always in search of high-interest materials, so I was excited to find word problems about Harry Potter. As I started reading though, I realized they were just the cleverly disguised "which train gets there first?" problems that everyone hates. The first one reads:

Harry Potter has asked his friend Hermione for a potion to turn them and their friend Ron into birds. (The flying car is in for repairs, so they need to make the trip to Diagon Alley as birds.)
Diagon Alley is 9 miles away and a dose of Hermione's potion lasts 50 minutes. They only have enough potion for one dose each. If they can go 24 miles an hour as birds, and they start at 4:30 p.m., can they get to Diagon Alley and back to Hogwarts again before the potion runs out at 5:20 p.m.? If so, how much time will they be able to spend in the Alley?

This seems like a cruel trick for my low-level students. Let them get excited when they see the name of a beloved character, then crush them with so many variables and two questions at one time. For now, I'll leave Harry Potter in the Literacy word.

1 comment:

Fellow math teacher said...

If you go to and go to the shared document files, there is a GREAT worksheet with 12 problems that you can do emlimination with. Also, there is a great graphic organizer that goes along with it that totally helps the kids. I just finished doing it with mine and the kids who started saying, "I can't do word problems" were totally acing the quiz. I was so proud. It worked out great.