A meaty math challenge for chilly days

Happy New Year! This week, we are excited to feature our math specialist Mrs. Frentrup as she makes a case for the power of bar models in solving math problems. This is a great illustration of the way our math curriculum, Math in Focus (Singapore Math), works. The problems are written out below, and the explanations and solutions for each are in the video link.

From Mrs. Frentrup: “Some of our students are unimpressed when introduced to bar models for simple math problems. They think, rightly, that they can do the calculations without drawing a model. But for more complicated problems, bar models can really help. Two examples will, I hope, illustrate this. Both problems are from the fourth grade curriculum.”

PROBLEM #1: The sum of two numbers is 7,150. The difference of these two numbers is 1,358. Find the two numbers. This is an above-grade level problem for Grade 4. We encourage you to pause and try the problem yourself, and then continue! Here is the video explanation and solution for problem #1.

PROBLEM #2: Ms. Rao buys a computer, a printer, and a scanner for $2,543. The computer costs $1,502 more than the printer. The printer costs $123 more than the scanner.
How much does Ms. Rao pay for the computer?
This is the on-grade level problem that convinced last year’s Grade 4 students that bar models made sense for word problems. They tried unsuccessfully for over 20 minutes to solve it without the bar models. Once we re-read the problem and drew bar models, it became a much easier and quicker process. Try it and see how you do! Here is the video explanation and solution for problem #2.