Friday, January 20, 2012

Ratios in Story Problems

One of my greatest frustrations in teaching is that students haven't developed good analytical thinking skills.  I had a student today ask if she could get the form B of our math tests to use as a study guide.  Really?  Then she went on to tell me that it helps her get ready for the math tests.  I tried to explain to her that learning how to do a specific type of problem before she takes a test doesn't help her better her skills, it only helps her to solve that specific problem.

Today's lesson was ratios.  I use Saxon, so the title was ratios with totals.  This lesson is a prime example of why kids need to work on problem solving skills.  They begin reading the problem and I know that they get lost amongst all of the values given, and don't really know what to do with them.  The scaffolding I provided today was extensive.  Then just when I think they've got it, and I turn them loose to do some independent work, they sit and look at the problem as if it were printed in Chinese.  So tomorrow, we will practice some more...

Googledocs...it works, just no thumbnail

TpT link

3 comments:

Kim said...

Hi Jena:
We are doing the same thing in my classroom--and I am having the same difficulty.

I found that using "codes" helps keep the ratios organized... so they put a symbol or letter in parentheses to the left of the ratios so they can refer to them like: ($) for dollars and (a) for apples. This helps with writing the answers too. So 3 dollars for 12 apples is more apparent by referring to the "codes." I don't think I explained that very well, but it really helped some of them. Some others, however, are still completely lost!

Happy Weekend!

Kim
Finding JOY in 6th Grade

Caught in the Middle said...

Apparently my upload is gone (I'll put the link to TpT because it's there as a freebie too), but I use a chart where students label to the left, then fill in the numbers where they are appropriate. It seems to work fairly well. They would just rather answer a quick arithmetic problem rather than set up something to solve it.

Kate said...

Thanks for sharing! We are about to start ratios next week!
☼Kate
To The Square Inch

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