# Fuzzy Word Problems

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by nycmathguy, May 24, 2022.

1. ### nycmathguy

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Why is it that most Word problems, not all, are poorly written and thus a bit fuzzy?

nycmathguy, May 24, 2022
2. ### MathLover1

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Word problems tend to be complicated in part because of their descriptive language. Students often don't understand what exactly they're being asked, especially when the problem includes abstract concepts.

As a teacher, I have come up with three basic reasons that students avoid, dislike, or fear word problems:
1.The Battle of the Left and Right Brain,
2. The Language Barrier and
3.The Lack of a Plan.

Most students are dominant on one side of the brain.

MathLover1, May 24, 2022
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3. ### nycmathguy

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I will now make up my own word problem. I know the answer and how to solve it, obviously. I want to see your method for answering the question one sentence at a time. Remember: ONE SENTENCE AT A TIME.

Rita has two boxes of marbles. Box A had 300 marbles. Box B has 400 marbles. Rita decided to give away some of the marbles to kids in her local community. From Box A, Rita gave away 1/3 of the marbles. From Box B, she decided to give away 1/4 of the marbles. How many marbles does Rita have left?

YOU SAY?

nycmathguy, May 24, 2022
4. ### MathLover1

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given:

A=300
B=400

total:

A+B=700

=>From Box A, Rita gave away 1/3 of the marbles which is A/3
=>From Box B, she decided to give away 1/4 of the marbles which is B/4

so, Rita gave away A/3+B/4=300/3+400/4= 100+100=200 Rita

How many marbles does Rita have left?
deduct the marbles Rita gave away from total

700-200=500

this was longer version with steps

shorter version is just set up formula
A=300
B=400
A+B-(A/3+B/4)=300+400-(300/3+400/4)=700-(100+100)=700-200=500

MathLover1, May 24, 2022
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5. ### nycmathguy

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Well-done. I made up this problem. It did not come from any book. Now, let's pretend that you don't know how to create an equation and/or formula. You come across this question while taking a timed test. What is your strategy?

This is my way:

300 + 400 = 700 marbles in all.

(1/3)(300) = 100

(1/4)(400) = 100

100 + 100 = 200

700 - 200 = 500

Rita is left with 500 marbles.

You say?

nycmathguy, May 25, 2022
6. ### MathLover1

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First, read the question carefully. If you misunderstand or misinterpret the question, your entire answer may miss the mark. Notice what the question requires you to do. Notice whether it asks you to explain, discuss, summarize, define, evaluate, compare, analyze, or synthesize.

This will help you focus on the question and not be distracted by wrong answers. Read confusing questions more than once to ensure you understand them. Reading through questions too quickly can cause you to make mistakes. Stop and think after reading each part of a long question.

MathLover1, May 25, 2022
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7. ### nycmathguy

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There is no such thing as read each question slowly and carefully when taking a timed exam. Exams are meant to be quickly and accurately understood at first glance. Yes, it sucks but that's the unfairness of timed exams.

nycmathguy, May 25, 2022
8. ### MathLover1

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you are not taking exam, so do it until you have enough practice that you can be faster in interpreting the question

MathLover1, May 25, 2022
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9. ### nycmathguy

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1. You are right as far as taking exams is concerned. No more exams for me in this life.

2. I do have nephews and nieces that are now attending school. My family knows about my interest in math. They trust me to help them with homework in the near future. So, I need to feel comfortable in this regard.

3. I think you often forget that I work for a living. I work overnight hours with very little sleep time during the day. You also forgot about my narcissistic roommate that has become rebellious simply because I want to move on without him. Try doing math in that hell hole.

4. Point 3 should make it clear why I don't have the needed time to dedicate to math or anything else for that matter.

5. I also must make time for my guitar. I have been playing guitar since the early 70s. I love my fingerstyle guitar music. I love my hymns. It's not all about math with me.

nycmathguy, May 25, 2022
10. ### MathLover1

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MathLover1, May 25, 2022
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