What We Are Learning...
Our next unit of study involves Geometry and Measurement. We will classify two-dimensional figures in a hierarchy of sets and subsets using graphic organizers based on their attributes and properties. We will solve problems by calculating conversions within a measurement system, customary (inches, ounces, etc.) or metric (centimeters, grams, etc.). We will represent and solve problems related to perimeter and/or area and related to volume. We will recognize a cube with side length of one unit as a unit cube having one cubic unit of volume and the volume of a three-dimensional figure as the number of unit cubes (in cubic units) needed to fill it with no gaps or overlaps if possible. We will determine the volume of a rectangular prism with whole number sides in problems related to the number of layers times the number of unit cubes in the area of the base.
TIPS FOR SOLVING WORD PROBLEMS... So many questions on STAAR and on our district/campus assessments are in the form of word problems. Students must get comfortable working on word problems. Encourage your child to read the problem at least twice and really think about what is happening. We use a strategy called CUBES to identify important information in a problem. You child should use this strategy whenever working a word problem. Also, important, is that, after answering the question, your child goes back and reads the problem once more to determine if their answer makes sense. For instance, if the word problem suggests that a total of 20 pounds of potatoes are distributed evenly among 4 bowls, does it make sense that each bowl now has 80 pounds of potatoes in it? (In this case, the child multiplied, instead of divided. Teach them to think...if I started with a total of 20 pounds and divided it up into 4 bowls, how can I end up with more in each bowl than I have altogether?) This is a critical piece of solving word problems that I find our students are not often doing. CUBES = Circle key numbers, Underline important information including the question, Box math action words, Eliminate unneeded information & Evaluate the question, Solve and check the problem.
We also ask ourselves if we have a known total in our word problem. If we are doing an operation with a known total, it makes sense that we would likely divide or subtract (if we have a total, we won't be looking for a number greater than our total, so we wouldn't want to add or multiply our total to/by another number). Unknown totals generally indicate we will be adding or multiplying to get a total. Like objects/items generally mean we will be adding or subtracting (number of dogs added to number of dogs, but we could have a problem, such as total number of pets, that would have us add cats to dogs...but dogs and cats are both pets). Unlike objects generally mean we will be multiplying or dividing (number of rows multiplied by the number of chairs, or number of pizzas divided by number of children). Generally speaking, using these hints in 5th grade will help a child greatly narrow down the operation needed in a word problem. Remember, though, that our word problems are often multi-step, so read and think carefully. These tips should not substitute for understanding the problem.