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Mad Math for Primary Students Book 2

Stimulating problem solving activities for students aged 8-10 years.

Mad Math for Primary Students Book 2 by Greg Mitchell
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Mad Math is a problem solving based set of math activities for primary students. The basic aim of the series is to cloak the cognitive processes involved in problem solving in an attractive, enjoyable exterior.

The activities are often fun ... mad even, but the basic underlying principles are sound.

Ordering these activities according to difficulty is extremely hard to do because student readiness for problem solving relies greatly upon their previous experiences and how the material is presented in the classroom. Similarly, it is hard to classify these books according to year level. Basically, Book 1 is framed for primary (Grades 1 - 3), Book 2 for Intermediate (Grades 3 - 5) and Book 3 for Grades 6 - 7 students. These levels are not prescriptive, thus materials should be selected to suit the student, group or class.

The aim of Mad Math is to develop problem solving skills rather than other, more mechanical number skills. Any aid which assists in getting the problem solved is to be encouraged as the process is much more worthwhile than the answer in this case. Calculators, blocks, counters, squared paper, pieces of paper to draw on and indeed anything that helps the process of problem solving should be encouraged and made available.

To get the best out of Mad Math

Each Mad Math page has three parts to it:

1. The Problem Read through the problem with the student, group or class you are using it with. Whilst reading for meaning is a very important skill, major emphasis here is problem solving skills,
not reading. So, ensure that all students understand and are fully aware of the problem presented. Discuss the problem before progressing to the questions, perhaps developing your own questions
before moving on.

2. The Questions Ensure that all the students understand the question and its context before they tackle the
answer. The benefits flow from the process not the answer. In fact many students will have
difficulty in framing a form of attacking the problem. Discussing the questions helps overcome this.

Independence will develop with experience.

3. Madness ... The Extension The final task adds a further fun dimension to those on the page. These activities may not be
totally math orientated but they lend an enjoyable end to a math session. The ‘Madness’ boxes are intended to be optional.

Assessment In assessing these activities it is essential to consider more than just the answers. "Did the student understand the problem?" is probably the most important question to be asked and evaluated. Questions about computational accuracy are of secondary importance ... but important nevertheless. Do not forget to evaluate your own presentation of the material ... using materials such as this as ‘busy work’ may indeed cause more work than was intended.

Ready-Ed Publications; June 2001
44 pages; ISBN 9781875268832
Read online, or download in secure PDF format
Title: Mad Math for Primary Students Book 2
Author: Greg Mitchell; Terry Allen

Worksheet 17

One Monday night Agapanthus Blackthumb was in her garden ripping out the flowers so the weeds could grow.

Smiley Chops Nextdoorneighbor was also out ripping out his flowers. They got talking about (and eating) flowers. Agapanthus, it seemed, ripped out flowers every five days but Smiley ripped his out every eight days.

"Do you know that you have eyes like petals?" laughed Smiley as he gazed into Agapanthus’s eyes. "Bicycle petals (pedals)."

Agapanthus blinked and said, "Yes, but your ears are like flowers - cauliflowers!"

+ Questions

1. How often does Agapanthus pull up flowers?

2. How often does Smiley Chops pull up flowers?

3. How many times in a month (September) would Agapanthus pull up flowers?

4. When will be the next time Agapanthus will meet Smiley Chops in the garden?

5. Agapanthus hired a gardener every five days to pull out the flowers. She
paid him $5 each time. How much would she have to pay out over five weeks?