Teaching children to think in the box

This evening, my youngest was frustrated with her math homework on time. Her frustration was not due to the math involved but with the expectations of the writers of the workbook.
Here is what the problem stated:

9:58 AM is __ minutes before ___AM

  I had to tell her the answer here because, clearly, the writers are thinking so in the box that they considered it obvious that the reference point would be the hour, so that you would fill in the blanks with 2 and 10:00, respectively.  As my daughter rightly observed, though, there are many possible answers.  All you have to do is make the minutes match the time.  You could put in 1 and 9:59 or 3 and 10:01, and so on.


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Frayda said…
not a very intelligent question. The answer could be an number and any time.
Ariella said…
Exactly my point, Frayda. But that was a homework question in a 4th grade workbook. I ran this question by some people. The first couple answered 2 and 10:00, but the next one caught on to the fact that there are other possibilities.

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