Skip to main content

Does It Make A Difference?

Whenever I am helping Princess with her school work, I am always digging for old memories of my studying years to better understand what she is going through. But, to my dismay and her frustration, what she is going through right now has little semblance of what we had gone through then. What we did previously perhaps makes up only 5-10% of what is still existing in her curriculum.

During our time, a standard Primary 4 Math exam would include questions like this:

Q: What is the L.C.M. of 15 and 18?

Q: What is the H.C.F of 5 and 8?

In case you have forgotten all about your primary school work, L.C.M. refers to Lowest Common Multiple and H.C.F. refers to Highest Common Multiple.

Today, the question looks something like this:

Question from Popular Primary School #1:

A shopkeeper has more than 50 sweets. If he puts them in packets of 7, he has 5 sweets left. If he puts them in packets of 9, he has 6 sweets left. How many sweets does the shopkeeper have?

Question from Popular Primary School #2:

Don has some stamps. If he packs 5 stamps into each bag, he will have 2 extra stamps. If he packs 8 stamps into each bag, he will need 3 more stamps. What is the least number of stamps Don has?

Question from a popular enrichment book:

A tailor has a bag of buttons and has to sew a certain number of jackets. If he sews 8 button on each jacket, he will have 8 buttons left. If he sews 10 buttons on each jacket, he will need 4 more.

(a) How many jackets did he have to sew?

(b) How many button did he have?

All 3 questions test the application of the concepts of L.C.M. and H.C.F.. At first glance, one might think that these 3 questions looked similar and the method of solving is perhaps the same. Well, if you think so, then you are both right and wrong.

Solution to Question from Popular Primary School #1:

Q1

So the shopkeeper has 96 sweets.

Solution to Question from Popular Primary School #2:

Q2

Don has 37 stamps.

Solution to Question from a popular enrichment book:

Q3

(a) He had to sew 6 jackets.

(b) He had 56 buttons.

According to the answer keys provided, the above answers are all correct solutions to the questions but the workings are all mine, particularly the last solution because instead of a table, the enrichment book provided a formula to solve such questions.

By now you would have noticed the difference between the first two questions and the third. The first two school test questions are just merely testing the kids’ ability to list multiples accurately and match the numbers quickly. Period. However, these two questions fail to consider that there are multiple answers. Don’t believe? Look at the solutions again below.

Solution (expanded) to Question from Popular Primary School #1:

Q4

So should it be 96 or 159?

Solution (expanded) to Question from Popular Primary School #2:

Q5

37 or 157?

However, you don’t have such ambiguity from the question from the enrichment book because there is a definite multiple (i.e. one answer only). Such questions has a very real life application. I remember I found myself in this situation while packing goodie bags for Princess’s birthday party in kindergarten. The number of students in her class is a definite number.

What were the teachers who set those questions thinking? Or were they even thinking at all? Maybe they were, and they thought that under exam conditions, kids will not be crazy enough to attempt any multiples beyond 10. And they might be just right. However, is it right to set such questions with multiple answers in exams and testing the kids for merely listing the multiples really teaching them its applications in the real world?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Post-meditated Pumpkin and Mushroom Soup

I cannot help but notice that recently the trendy words that seem to flood the wellness media always carry words like “self-care”, “meditation”, “gratitude”, and even “mindfulness” has been thrown in for good measure. Yes, all these single-word suggestions sound good. We all need to know how to take our stress level down a few notches at a time when we need to keep our face masks up.  So when I read the news about a nail being found in the pumpkin mushroom soup of an unidentified Asian passenger on board our national carrier bound for Auckland, imagine my dilemma. Should I feel grateful that my previous soups on board were served without any nails? Or should I feel grateful that I could not afford to fly our national carrier often enough to be served soups which might actually have carried nails or other specials in them? As you can see, I am pretty new to this wellness speak and hence very confused about this “gratitude” aspect of the trend.     Like any dutiful social m

Rosemary Cuttings

I think I am really bored with life. So bored that I am trying my hands are transplanting my rosemary plant! This is just after I killed by some mint off-shoots recently by transplanting them. I have black fingers, I think. Not that I need another rosemary plant. I am just plain curious why some people here are able to root a cutting from a Cold Storage pack . It sounds so easy that it is absurdly unfair. Maybe it is just my lack of technique and common sense when it comes to plants. Here's a link that I found helpful about transplanting rosemary . Seems that the chances of success for my transplanted rosemary doesn't look high. I didn't dip it in rooting powder (!!??), I transplanted it in medium sized container, and the soil is of highly questionable source (don't ask). Well, if the little fellow didn't make it, you will hear of it here soon.

Comparing Banana Breads

Most of the times, at least for the logical people, baking is the last thing on their minds as who would want their kitchens filled with hot air churning out from the ovens  in the land of eternal summer? If not for  those limp and blackened bananas sitting in their Tupperware coffins, dawdling towards its expiry, I would have happily nodded my head in wholehearted agreement. These banana were long gone their prime time for smoothies but these were ironically the best state to make banana-anything. If my helper was still around, I would have happily asked her to make those arteries-clogging Jemput-Jemput (aka banana fritters), unfortunately, she was not. So I cranked up my oven to 180 degC and got down to work. I have made banana bread many times with the recipe from Joy of Cooking ('97 edition) and was quite happy with it. So when I realised that JOC came up with a 2019 edition, I knew I need to get my paws on it ASAP and try out that version of Banana Bread.  So thanks to