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Date:  Fri, 18 Nov 94  17:31:28 EST
From: Valerie Elacqua
Subject: Word problem

From: Valerie Elacqua

Dr. Math, We're taking your claim that 'no math problem is too big or too
small' very seriously. I have three 2nd grade students in my Special Class
Math group.

Jacob has 2 hermit crabs.  Mellisa has 2 bunnies, 2 dogs, 1 gerbil,
1 guinea pig,  5 parakeets, and 1 cat.  Laura has 2 fish.

(Now the tough part.)  How many animals do they have all together?

God bless you for your good work!!  Could you stand this if we send a word
problem 1x a week??
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Date: Fri, 18 Nov 1994 17:26:40 -0500 (EST)
From: "Michael W. S. Morton"
Subject: Re: Word problem

Hello from Dr. MATH!

I'm one of the math doctors here on call to answer your
question.  Let's take a look at it and see what we get!

> Jacob has 2 hermit crabs.  Mellisa has 2 bunnies, 2 dogs, 1 gerbil,
> 1 guinea pig, 5 parakeets, and 1 cat.  Laura has 2 fish.
>
> (Now the tough part)  How many animals do they have all together?

Ok... let's see.  First thing I may do is to draw a picture.  It helps to
get things down that are concrete (that you can actually SEE).

So:

Melissa:
{}  {}     __   __       ..      \ /       . . . . .         <>
OO  OO    <><> <><>      GG       PP       O O O O O       OOO
// \\

2 bunnies   2 dogs    1 gerbil  1 g.pig   5 parakeets     1 cat

Jacob:                  Laura:

O'  O'               >OOO>  >OOO>
~~  ~~

2 hermit crabs          2 fish

Ok, so now let's put ALL the drawings together.  That will let us see ALL
the animals at the same time:

{}  {}     __   __       ..      \ /       . . . . .         <>
OO  OO    <><> <><>      GG       PP       O O O O O       OOO
// \\
1   2      3     4       5        6        7 8 9

O'  O'               >OOO>  >OOO>
~~  ~~

We want to know how many animals there are total, so all we have to do
now is count them up!  I've started putting numbers under each one to
count them up.  If you keep going, how many animals are there total?
Let us know if anything is not understood, or if more help is needed!
Send us more questions if you have them.

-MORTON, doctor of sorts
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