City-Data Forum Math problem for 1st graders (school, exam, course, teacher)
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 View Poll Results: I consider this math problem to be easy for first graders 3 8.33% moderate difficulty for first graders, but doable with a bit of effort 18 50.00% too difficult for first graders 15 41.67% Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

09-22-2012, 10:45 AM
 4,043 posts, read 7,303,651 times Reputation: 3897

Below is a math problem for children, apparently 1st graders. I would appreciate it if you could answer a few questions after reading it. Thank you so much.

<In a bus there are 10 people. At the next stop a few people get off and no one gets on. At the second stop one more person gets off than the number of persons that got off at the first stop. Now there are 5 people in the bus. How many people got off at the first stop and at the second stop?>

1. How do you find this problem for a 1st grader? Would you rate it as easy, moderate difficulty, quite challenging?
2. If you have a first grader, would you say your child could solve this problem pretty easily? If child is older, would you say he/she would have been able to easily solve it when he/she was in first grade? The latter would be harder to answer, of course, given recall bias...but if you think you have a pretty accurate memory of how the child was in 1st grade, you can give it a try.

If you could also answer the poll question - thanks a lot.

09-22-2012, 11:07 AM
 7,101 posts, read 26,875,255 times Reputation: 7443
We hope the teacher is trying to get the children to think....So, let's ask questions.

How many got off? 5. 10 -5 remaining = 5 got off both stops.
If one more got off the second stop, how many got off the first one? 5-1=4

Was that hard, easy, or doable with a little thought?

09-22-2012, 11:08 AM
 17,183 posts, read 22,359,776 times Reputation: 17467
I think that this is moderately difficult for first graders, but because the numbers used are easy ones, 10 and 5, the kids could probably do it by drawing a picture or using some manipulatives to figure it out. I would assume that they are being taught to use hands on methods with problems like this.

09-22-2012, 11:12 AM
 17,183 posts, read 22,359,776 times Reputation: 17467
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Padgett2 We hope the teacher is trying to get the children to think....So, let's ask questions. How many got off? 5. 10 -5 remaining = 5 got off both stops. If one more got off the second stop, how many got off the first one? 5-1=4 Was that hard, easy, or doable with a little thought?
I think you misread the question though. It says At the second stop one more person gets off than the number of persons that got off at the first stop - that is not the same as one person got off at the second stop.

Given the numbers the answer can only be 4 and 1 or 2 and 3. Note that if 2 people got off at the first stop and then 3 people got off at the second stop, then one *more* person got off at the second stop than got off at the first stop.

09-22-2012, 11:19 AM
 Location: Free State of Texas 19,957 posts, read 12,243,568 times Reputation: 2393
Quote:
 Originally Posted by nana053 I think you misread the question though. It says At the second stop one more person gets off than the number of persons that got off at the first stop - that is not the same as one person got off at the second stop. Given the numbers the answer can only be 4 and 1 or 2 and 3. Note that if 2 people got off at the first stop and then 3 people got off at the second stop, then one *more* person got off at the second stop than got off at the first stop.
Agreed. The answer is two and three. I taught first graders. I think this is doable, but the wording makes it more difficult than it should be.

09-22-2012, 11:20 AM
 Location: San Antonio, TX 11,497 posts, read 26,294,797 times Reputation: 28017
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Padgett2 How many got off? 5. 10 -5 remaining = 5 got off both stops. If one more got off the second stop, how many got off the first one? 5-1=4
I asked both of my kids, a 2nd grader and a 5th grader. That was the solution they came up with. Then they got mad when I told them it was wrong.

09-22-2012, 11:29 AM
 7,101 posts, read 26,875,255 times Reputation: 7443
Oops! you are right. I did misread.

09-22-2012, 11:53 AM
 3,763 posts, read 8,607,597 times Reputation: 4058
As demonstrated by adults working through this, I think this would be challenging for most of my 1st graders at the beginning of the school year. A couple out of each class *might* figure it out. Then there would be that 1 kid who would argue that some additional passengers could have gotten on at the second bus stop! This time of year at the beginning of first grade there are some who struggle with 2+3=5! In the spring more would be ready to tackle this.

I think this problem takes some higher level thinking skills for beginning-of-the-year first graders.

09-22-2012, 11:57 AM
 4,253 posts, read 9,314,097 times Reputation: 5138
The problem is a bit advanced for 6 years old. OP, remember that "word problems" were starting to be given in the 2nd grade in your old country (8-9 yo), and the above example problem was more suited to the 3rd grade (9-10 years old). Here the 9-10 yo corresponds to the 4th grade and that's exactly what I see with my 4th grader who is just starting to bring similar word problems home.

09-22-2012, 12:22 PM
 4,043 posts, read 7,303,651 times Reputation: 3897
Quote:
 Originally Posted by nana053 I think you misread the question though. It says At the second stop one more person gets off than the number of persons that got off at the first stop - that is not the same as one person got off at the second stop. Given the numbers the answer can only be 4 and 1 or 2 and 3. Note that if 2 people got off at the first stop and then 3 people got off at the second stop, then one *more* person got off at the second stop than got off at the first stop.
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