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Q&A #748


Algebra - 8th grade

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From: Claudia (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Nov 08, 1998 at 19:44:37
Subject: Re: Algebra - 8th grade

For some reason nearly ALL students have trouble at this level with word
problems. Listing what you know and need to know is a good approach. However,
students having difficulty with the words can't decipher and make an
equation.  One technique that I have tried is to use a table method. And if
you have access, this idea can be extended to include spreadsheets. Just
about every child can make a table. For example...

Take a traditional train 1 leaves New York at 12:00 noon traveling at 55 mph.
Train 2 leaves an hour later, on a parallel track, traveling at 70 mph. When
will train 2 overtake train one?

 Table Headings   Time for T1, Distance for T1, Time for T2, Distance for T2
                      0           55*0=55           ---         ---
 (you can choose      1           55*1=55            0          70*0 = 0
   increments)        2           55*2=110           1          70*1=70

Have them continue the chart. Technically they can solve without equations!
However, in the end, you can easily have them write equations, because they
can see what CHANGED each time (TIME), they can write 55t and how does T2's
time compare with T1's time?  It is one less  so t-1  and so on.

Hope this makes sense and works for you as well as it has worked for me!

 -Claudia, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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