Celebrate Earth Day with these fun math problems. We’ve included problems of varying difficulty to challenge both your math intervention and enrichment students. Included are the best of those submitted to us in past years and some new ones as well. Enjoy!
- Almost 97% of the world’s water is salty or undrinkable, another 2% is locked away in the ice cap or glaciers. What percent is drinkable? (Submitted by Southfield School in Shreveport, LA)
- The average person uses about 12,000 gallons of water each year. Using this estimate, how much does your family use? How much does your class use?
- Recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours. If your TV runs 84 hours this month how many aluminum cans should you recycle to produce the energy needed?
- It takes 90% less energy to recycle aluminum cans than to manufacture new ones. So, one thousand cans can be recycled using the same energy as making how many new ones?
- Recycling a stack of newspaper just 3 feet high saves one tree. How many trees are saved if our school collected and recycled 20 stacks of newspapers 6 feet high? (Submitted by Haughton High School, Haughton, LA)
- A leaky faucet can waste up to 20 gallons of water per day, and a leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons a day. If 3 leaky faucets and 2 leaking toilets were fixed today how many gallons of water would be saved each day.
In just a few weeks we will reveal the 2015 Ascend Math Gold Medalist Schools. So far, six schools have been added to these honorary ranks. Math Intervention students at all six have made amazing progress this year. The nominated schools thus far include:
Oneida Elementary School, Oneida, TN
Glenbrook Middle School, Longmeadow, MA
Holabird STEM Program, Baltimore, MD
Mountain Ridge Junior High, Highland, UT
Timberline Creek Elementary, St. Augustine, FL
Williams Middle School, Longmeadow, MA
There are still more than two weeks left to send nominations.
March Mathness wraps up tonight. The National Championship game between Wisconsin and Duke will match two big scorers, Frank Kaminsky and Jahil Okafer.
In Wisconsin’s win over Kentucky Saturday, Kaminsky made 7 out of 11 field goals. Duke Center Okafer also made 7 out of 11 field goals against Michigan State. Determine their field goal percentage by dividing 7 by 11.
For extra credit convert their free throw attempts to a percentage.
Kaminsky 5 out of 6
Okafer 4 out of 7
The number seven seeded Michigan State Spartans beat the Louisville Cardinals 76 to 70. They now join an elite group of three number one seeds in the Final Four. This certainly would qualify them as the Cinderella Story of the 2015 NCAA tournament.
In their win against Louisville, Spartan Guards Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine combined for 32 points. What percentage of Michigan State’s total score was contributed by these two players? How many points were scored by the rest of team?
A study by Harvard Professor Joshua Goodman into the effect of snow days on student progress recently appeared in the Washington Post. He concludes that official snow days do not appear to affect progress, but student absenteeism does negatively effect progress, especially math progress.
“The upshot is not that superintendents should shut down schools when the first snowflake falls,” Goodman said, “but that student absenteeism is a bigger problem than it usually gets credit for in national education debates.”
If schools get their arms around absenteeism it will do more for achievement than other common approaches like drill and practice.
Teams will be travelling to get to their Sweet Sixteen tournament locations this week. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a 251 mile journey to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. If their bus averages 64 miles an hour how long will it take them?
Kentucky University has 331 miles to travel to Cleveland. If they make it in exactly 5 hours how fast will they be travelling?
If the Kentucky team leaves one hour before the Notre Dame team which team will get their first?
A few weeks ago the Washington Post ran yet another article on the Gender Gap in education. The article is worth a quick look.
“These results strongly suggest that gender gaps in school performance are not determined by innate differences in ability,” the report says, calling on parents, teachers and policy makers to help identify and change social factors that contribute to the gender gaps.
Looking at the thousands of students using Ascend Math it is clear that there is no difference in the ability of both boys and girls to succeed at math given the right intervention help.
A study released in the this month’s issue of Sports Illustrated magazine reveals that colleges with “bird” mascots have done better than those with animals, fantasy figures, or humans for mascots. Here is how it shapes up
|Fantasy figures/inanimate objects/weather
|Canines and felines
According to this study alone which of the following teams should win? What is the difference in the winning percentages for their mascot types?
Northern Iowa Panthers vs Wyoming Cowboys
VCU Rams vs Ohio State Buckeyes (a buckeye is a tree nut)
Duke Blue Devils vs North Florida Ospreys
Duke Blue Devils vs Robert Morris Colonials
Last year, we devoted the march blog posts to celebrating March Mathness, the math behind the sport of basketball.
Many of you sent in your own math problems for posting. These included scores, records of teams, distance teams have to travel, the basketball court itself, even the numbers on the player’s jerseys. Math plays into this annual event in more ways than you might think.
So check this blog regularly for more fun math problems. Send your ideas for March Mathness math problems to email@example.com
Meanwhile, here is a favorite from last year submitted by students at Northside Elementary:
Duke played Syracuse 3 times this season. At each game Duke scored the same number of points. The total amount of points scored in the 3 games was 96 points. How many points did they score in each game?
Great intentions do not always equate to great results. Anyone who has spent any time in education comes to realize this. Recently, ASCD has been promoting a well-intentioned approach to differentiated instruction. Their article “Differentiating without Drowning” maintains that teachers should:
“Choose two students on whom to focus your differentiated instruction or lesson (who isn’t benefiting from instruction in your class?).
Use student files, assessment results, student work, support-staff knowledge, and any other data you have on hand to pinpoint three areas of weakness for each of the two students. (You may want to build on this list later, but begin with a short list of three weak areas.)”
What’s the problem with this approach? It simply does not scale. The average classrooms we see often include half or more of the students with skill gaps BELOW their current grade level. With the exception of a few common gaps like fractions, their needs are quite individual. No two students have exactly the same set of gaps. The ASCD approach is well meaning and may well provide assistance for a few students who are close to proficiency but it is not differentiated enough to assist all the struggling math students in a class.
Teachers need a tool that clearly identifies each student’s missing gaps, puts them together in properly sequenced study plans and provides award winning instruction to help students understand and fill those gaps quickly. It is simply not something that they will be able to do on their own.
Given the right tools, good teachers can provide truly individualized help for struggling students while continuing to teach to the collective class.