A word problem...
A researcher conducted a medical study to investigate whether taking a low-dose aspirin reduces the chance of developing colon cancer. As part of the study, 1,000 adult volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Half of the volunteers were assigned to the experimental group that took a low-dose aspirin each day, and the other half were assigned to the control group that took a placebo each day. At the end of six years, 15 of the people who took the low-dose aspirin had developed colon cancer and 26 of the people who took the placebo had developed colon cancer. At the significance level a 0.05, do the data provide convincing statistical evidence that taking a low-dose aspirin each day would reduce the chance of developing colon cancer among all people similar to the volunteers?
So, I gave this problem to my students and, as many teachers find, students were overwhelmed and unsure of how to tackle this situation. Some students were simply thrown off by how many words were in front of them. Teachers: do you see similar struggles at your school? How have you dealt with this?
My school has been finding that students struggle with long word problems. Our SAT data also reflects this issue. Plus, our school has an improvement plan in place to make gains in this area. To confront this issue and support students, I did some research and found a literacy strategy to incorporate in math class!
- Helpful to ESL students
- Helpful to all students who feel overwhelmed
- Make sense of long or tough word problems
- Higher students slow down and read more carefully
How to implement:
- Have students work in groups as a relay where one person does one part at a time.
- Model annotating a problem using the CUBES strategy.
- Have students write problems for peers who then have to translate.
If you have other suggestions, feel free to comment below! I am excited to revamp this space and share more educational ideas as well as recipes in the future.
Other resources for literacy strategies:
http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/105137/chapters/Reading-in-the-Mathematics-Classroom.aspx - why literacy is important in the math classroom
https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/blog-posts/genia-connell/2017/cubes-strategy-to-tackle-tough-word-problems-/ - why CUBES works
http://ebi.missouri.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/EBI-Brief-Template-Word-Problem-Mnemonics.pdf - other strategies
http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/10-ways-literacy-can-promote-a-deeper-understanding-of-math/ - ideas for incorporating writing into the math classroom