I am student teaching in a school that uses Math in Focus. On the post assessment for Chapter 1 (numbers to 1,000 - understanding place value, base 10, standard form, expanded form, greater than, less than, put numbers in order, number patterns), this was the last question: Melvin is getting ready for a swimming race. Every day, he swims 5 more meters than the day before. On the 5th day, he swims 50 meters. How many meters did Melvin swim on the first day? (Below the q, there are 5 boxes labeled "first day," "second day," etc., with "50" written inside the 5th box. There are arrows pointing backwards from the 5th box to the 4th box, 4th to 3rd, etc. Below those boxes is a work space and a fill in: "Melvin swam ___ meters on the first day." Melvin keeps swimming 5 more meters every day. When will he swim 70 meters? (Below this question is a work space and a fill in: "Melvin will swim 70 meters on the __ day.") Most of the students got it correct. I pulled 3 of the students who didn't (individually) to pull apart the question, circle the word clues, number clues, and talk through what is happening and what to do to find the answer. One student was able to talk himself through it and figure it out (yay!), but the other two were completely stymied. I showed it to my husband and he said that it seemed more like a 3rd grade problem, and the wording seemed intentionally tricky. Since it was the last question in the assessment, maybe it's supposed to be more of a stretch, for differentiation. What do you think? Is my class full of math geniuses or are these students struggling behind?

Mathematically, it's a simple subtraction problem. The challenge is in problem-solving, which requires reading comprehension and visualization skills. Totally appropriate for a second grade math problem.

I was say totally appropriate for on-level second grade math students, but not for those who are behind which you will have in any classroom.

You're lucky if you only have three below grade level! The math problem seems appropriate for second.

I've taught about that complexity (I teach 2nd). Works for me. Honestly, my only problem with word problems is not all of my students can read them.

One of the 3 is an officially struggling reader (just started pull out). The one who talked through it and figured it out is also a low reader. The third student is actually reading half a grade level ahead, but was the one most stubbornly insisting that it was a different rate of increase every day. Thank you for the sanity check. The class started regrouping yesterday, and there were word problems. The official struggler was not there, but the other two were, and completed all the word problems successfully. I think it's the going forwards and backwards in time that they are having problems with.

I just dislike Math in Focus in general. There were numerous typos in the 4th and 5th grade teacher manuals.