On 07 Dec 2004, Allison Armstrong wrote: >Several weeks ago my class had a big disagreement about the "eating >grapes" FunPOW. Some got an answer of 76 grapes and some got an >answer of 8 grapes. It all depends on how you interpret the problem. >The "100 grapes in all" can be interpreted as 100 grapes for the whole >week, or that she ate 100 grapes on Friday. I am pretty sure that the >answer is 8 grapes, but it isn't clear. I had my class submit both >answers to you to see what you all would say. It is interesting to >note that all the students that said the answer was 8 grapes had help >from their parents. > >Thank you for these problems. > >Allison
Hi, Allison --
Thanks for your question. We had lots of discussion at The Math Forum around the wording of this problem in an attempt to make it clear. I apologize if we didn't quite make it. "After she had eaten her grapes on Friday she had eaten 100 grapes in all" was intended to mean the whole week's accumulation. Otherwise we probably would have said something like, "On Friday she ate 100 grapes."
When you submitted and checked the answer, you probably found out that the official answer was 8. In the answer check "did you understand that the total of the grapes eaten over five days is 100?" helps to make it a little clearer.
The fact that you had such a lively discussion is very good news. it's a good opportunity for kids to talk about clarity of language and how important it is. Even adults don't always get it right! It's also a good takeoff point for discussing the idea that there are always assumptions to be made when tackling a problem, either a funpow or a real life one. If something in a problem is ambiguous, it's a good idea to state those assumptions when presenting a solution.
Thanks for being in touch.
I encourage other pow users to let us know about interpretation issues, especially those that spark class discussion.