Friday, March 5, 2010

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? - Time Management

I teach 5th grade math. Today, I asked my class to work in partners on the following word/logic problem:

Patsy's Conflict

Patsy has cheerleading practice on Monday and every fourth school day. She wants to be in the school play, but they have practice on Tuesdays and every sixth school day. Assuming the first school day is Wednesday, September 5, when would she have 2 meetings at the same time? Would she ever have 3 meetings at the same time? How many times would she have more than 1 meeting at the same time before the end of December?
Now, let me stop here for a moment. Please consider that we are in an era when too many of our students are overloaded with obligations. Numerous articles, studies, and presentations use data to point to the problem of overscheduling. Many of the students in my math are just that - overscheduled. Taking all of this into consideration here was one of my student's responses to the question:

Mr. Skeen, she needs to choose either the play or cheerleading! There - I solved the problem. This way she'll NEVER have 2 or 3 meetings at the same time.

My first thought was "wrong," quickly followed by "good outside the box thinking," followed by "not so much outside the box, as just plain logical."

I believe this answers the newly popular question: Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

In this case - no.

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