# Adults Can't Seem to Understand This Math Problem for First Graders. Can You?

From popular mechanics

Twitter users can't figure out a first grader's math homework.

State-of-the-art education tries to work out (literally!) The different ideas the children have to see how they think.

By expanding critical thinking and daily math skills, students learn math more resiliently.

Last week, New Yorker shared a dull children's math problem with Helen Rosner, and the internet responded accordingly:

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The assumptions were very different.

(Ben is right, but it's hard to explain in a tweet.)

Is Oglethorpe University's Bill Shillito right? What does this math problem mean?

➗ You love numbers. We also. Let's argue about numbers together.

The common problem follows a formula common today with updated math pedagogies of various kinds. A parent who hasn't read or just received the proper materials to understand the pedagogy takes a clip out of context and laughs at what it seems like nonsense . In this case, the homework uses language students who were likely learned in class.

A math drawing is a child's rendered version that shows how objects like blocks or even their fingers are counted in real life. For example, you draw circles that correspond to the number of objects in the question. Then they also draw relationships by circling some objects, painting some, putting them into different groups, and so on.

If this sounds like pretty nifty stuff, it is and it isn't - kids tend to think this way, but for adults outside of fields like combinatorics or set theory, it's almost entirely found in infographics.

? The best math books

Let's consider what math drawings are and why this type of math pedagogy is on the rise. Math, in particular, is prone to many weaknesses in education. Math-afraid elementary school teachers communicate this fear to students and affect their results, and that's before anything is even taught.

In the 2005 book How Students Learn: Maths in the Classroom, which is a sequel to some other well-known psychology books about learning, the experts focus on ways to connect with students about math to show how they think about problems . Children acquire numbers in a more tangible way, e.g. B. by seeing quantities of things on the counter or counting along their fingers.

Because the relationship between a real, countable, tenable thing and the numbers you write on your math homework is not always clear, experts say that some students run into a bottleneck simply by trying to express their thoughts on the solution of To communicate problems.

Older children are encouraged to show off their work, although frankly this is more of a way to pinpoint cheating than to examine how they think. In mathematics education it is now said that it is also of great help to speak to younger children through their thoughts. "Such math communication can help anyone in the classroom understand a particular concept or method, as it explains contrasting approaches, some of which are wrong - but often for interesting reasons," the authors write in How Students Learn.

This is an important point. If you've ever taken a Princeton Review or any other test prep course, you know that writers trap test takers into wrong answers by offering something almost right. If you've made a common and crucial mistake, your paper will lead you to the red herring answers. Understanding various common thinking mistakes is a great way to help kids rethink their options in an environment where they won't be punished for thinking about it. Here at Popular Mechanics, we deal with Team Math Drawing.

Now that you are comfortable with math drawings and countable things, look at the problem again. How would you solve it?

Tell us in the comments. ? ⬇

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