I really really really wish that the text books would tell you how they got the answer to the questions!!!! ESPECIALLY the story problems. I've given one of the problems for extra credit two years in a row now because I have NO idea how they got the answer!!! No one has been able to come up with an answer!!!

I was going to post it on here because I knew someone would be able to give it to me, but there's a chart involved... I'll have to think about how to post it.

Many textbooks now do have a solving guide with the textbook. I would definitely post the question....just describe the chart if need be.

Okay here it is: (sorry it took me so long) George exchanged some U.S. currency for 23.568 in European Euros. Then he traded the euros for 233.736 in Hong Kong dollars. How much did George exchange in U.S. dollars? The exchange rate they put in the book is 5 U.S. dollars for every 3.928 euros and 15 U.S. dollars for every 116.868 Hong Kong dollars. They say the answer is 30.

set up a ratio... x/23.568 = 5/3.928 3.928x = 117.84 solve for x by cross multiplying the bit about trading it for another currency is extra info that's not needed for the problem

Okay so obviously, I'm not a Math person... but my 5th graders were supposed to figure that out?!?!?! Can you explain it without cross multiplication?

The students could make a table. Start with a column for US and a column for euros. Then put 5 under US and 3.928 under euros. Then add 5 to the US side and 3.928 on the euro side until they get to 23.568 on the euro side. Whatever is on the US side is the answer (it should be 30).

Another way to solve would be: Find how many euros for $1 by dividing 3.928 by 5. Then, you see that $1=0.7856 euros. Then, divide 23.568 by 0.7856 to see how many dollars that would be. 23.568/0.7856=30.

For grade five, I would probably go with mopar's solution, although 123456now's answer may also work, depending on what skills they have... I haven't taught fifth grade Math apart from working in Resource, and supporting a class... and that was quite some time ago... so I don't remember what comes when. I think the table might be your best bet.

I agree with using the table. I teach 6th grade math and LOVE to give my kiddos challenging questions, but I would probably skip this one because I think the division might be a bit complicated. They know how to do long division, but the extended decimal portion would be very confusing for them. If I DID give this question, it would be for extra credit only or as a group exercise and I would absolutely let them use a calculator.

In the Air Force, my job was to take a 148,000 lb airplane, loaded with up to 60,000 of cargo and up to 125,000 lbs of fuel and figure out the center of balance within 1/10 of an inch. The arithmetic required was not as difficult as the word problem we are looking at.

Why not just teach them to cross multiply? It's an easy concept, the mechanics are very visual, and it's a skill they'll need in the future anyway.