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Who Does Math Faster?

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How long does it take you to figure out a math problem?  Well today I will be putting my family to the test.  I have come up with a math problem from my math test last year, and I’m going to see how long it takes my mom, sister, and grandpa to figure it out.  I will also be looking at the different ways that they figure out the problem as well.  They were all taught math differently so I’m excited to see how they do it and how long it takes.

I’m first going to tell you about the problem that I’m going to give them.  This is a sixth grade question from a big test that I took last year.  For me this problem is super easy but I don’t know what they’re going to think about it.  This question is based on finding the area and perimeter of a triangle and a trapezoid.  Easy right?  I’m curious to see how they show their work in this problem.  The way I was taught was to use formulas.  However, I’m not sure if they were all taught the same way.  The picture you see above are the 2 shapes that I gave them to work with.  I’m going to do the problem and give you my results when I’m done so you can see what time I think they should be done with it.  I just finished the questions and I got 3 minutes and 13 seconds.  To prove who is the fastest they must beat that time.

These are the results for how long it took my mom to do the problem.  She took 4 minutes and 46 seconds.  I was surprised because I thought she would’ve taken longer because she looked very confused when she saw the problem.  Unfortunately, she got the area wrong for both questions.  She told me that she forgot how to do area and I could tell by what she wrote.  Usually I would multiply to find the area but she was adding and I had no idea what she was doing!  My mom didn’t beat the time but will the other two?

I now also have the results for my sister. It took her 3 minutes and 54 seconds to figure out the problem.  I’m assuming that it took her less time because out of all three, these types of questions are probably not new to her.  She got the area and perimeter correct for both shapes.  I’m also surprised that she ended up using a formula like how I did it.  I know that it’s only been 4 years since she was in 7th grade, but I thought her teachers would have taught her a different way since teaching methods have changed a lot throughout the years.  However, she didn’t know how to write the formula for the perimeter, so she didn’t exactly do what I did.

Lastly, I have the results for my grandpa.  He took 6 minutes and 8 seconds.  He always loves to do everything neat and perfect which is the reason he got the time that he did.  He got both perimeters correct but not areas.  I was looking at his paper after he did it however, I couldn’t really understand what his strategy was when it came to the area. For perimeter, he did the basic add up all the sides way, like everyone else does.  He however did not use a formula like my sister and my mom. Out of all three papers, my grandpa’s was definitely the neatest.  Like I said earlier, he is a perfectionist.

Now the answer we’ve all been waiting for!  Who’s that fastest at math (not including me)?  The answer is my sister.  She didn’t beat my time, but she got the closest to it.  In second place is my mom, and in third is my grandpa.  What I observed was that they all knew how to do perimeter, except for how to write the formula.  Only my sister knew both formulas for the area of both shapes.  I think that in this case, it really came down to knowing the correct formulas.  If my mom and grandpa knew the formulas, they would have got a faster time.  I had a lot of fun doing this math experiment on my family.  I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I had writing it!

 

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