When a fourth-grade girl came across a math problem that focused on girl’s weights, she refused to answer it. The ten-year-old just did not feel right about the content of the problem despite what effect skipping it might have on her grade.
Today’s children solve more word problems than ever before. Teachers today know that mathematics is about more than just numbers. Kids need to be able to apply abstract concepts to real-life scenarios.
Word problems are essential to a twentieth-century education, but somebody has to write all of them. It is a lot easier to come up with a bunch of equations than it is to write realistic and practical scenarios where math is used. Whoever wrote the problem that Rhythm Pacheco found herself face to face with must have not been thinking.
When the Utah 10-year-old reached a math problem that asked students to compare the weight of three girls and figure out who was the "lightest," she refused to answer it. Pacheco said she felt that the question could make young girls feel insecure about their weight.
Fourth grader refuses to answer math question comparing girls' weight https://t.co/e2qMcnmyag— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 10, 2019
Instead of completing the question, the fourth-grader circled it and penciled in the word, “What!!!!” Below this, she explained things further. She wrote a note to her teacher stating, “This is offensive! Sorry I won't write this it's rude.”
Rhythm then followed up with a separate letter to her teaching where she apologized for skipping the problem but stood firm in her reasons why. She explained that she just didn’t think it was very nice and it felt judgmental.
Fortunately, Rhythm’s teacher was very understanding. She took the notes to heart and did not force the girl to do the problem or knock down her grade for not answering it.
But really, why are young kids completely math problems like this? Sure, it’s not derogatory but we agree with Rhythm: it’s just rude! We are just wondering who is proofreading the math textbooks these days!