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sum/problem/task Options
Helenej
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 5:44:50 AM

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A math teacher says,

"Ann has four apples and John has three apples. How many apples do they have together?
Who can solve this sum/problem/task?"

Can you please tell me which word the teacher would use here?
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 6:18:49 AM

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Problem or sum.


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Donthailand
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 6:19:35 AM
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Problem and task work for me. But, you can also just say: "Who can solve this?"
Helenej
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 6:37:26 AM

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Thank you very much.
And what about the following? Can a teacher also call it a problem, a sum and a task?

A swimming pool has 2 inlet pipes. One fills the pool in 4 hours, the other in 6 hours. The outlet pipe empties the pool in 5 hours. Once the outlet pipe was left open when the pool was being filled. In how many hours was the pool full?
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 6:45:40 AM

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I would call that a problem, it has more that needs to be solved to get the answer than a sum.

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
Helenej
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 7:57:38 AM

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Thanks a lot, Sarriesfan.

I'm sure that '2+2=' is a sum. Do you call '4-2=' a sum, too? If so, it sounds strange, doesn't it?

And what do you call '5*5=' and '25:5='?
pjharvey
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 8:31:39 AM
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Those are a subtraction, a multiplication and a division Helenej.
thar
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 9:36:45 AM

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Yes, but 'sums' is another word for arithmentic for younger age-groups - all four processes are 'sums'. - adding up, taking away, multiplying and dividing. Whistle

You don't learn 'sum' as addition until much later in much more advanced maths, where you differentiate between the technical terms a sum (addition) and a product (multiplication).

So, the language is set by its use in early childhood. "4-2" is a sum. As is 245/12. Or three squared.
In ordinary language, 'summing up' and summarising are more to do with simplifying, bringing out the main points. Although it is 'bringing things together' there is no clash with the mathematical meaning, where a sum is any use of arithmetic.
A problem is when you have to work out which sums you need to do, in order to solve it.
And a task is something you have to do.

"Solving the problem" is a task. Like "cleaning the floor" is a task.
Doing a sum is a very simple task, hardly worth the label.
But the problem is not the task.
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 11:06:14 AM
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Thar -

I remain in awe of your ability to explain so clearly and succinctly. That would probably have had me drivelling on for most of the page!
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 11:41:52 AM

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It must be another British/American thing, because when I was in school, a sum was always addition. I'm not sure how they teach it today. I'll have to ask the grandchildren...Anxious

And "doing sums" would have made one sound uneducated in my experience. We did addition/subtraction/multiplication/division problems, or exercises in the early grades.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 12:08:00 PM
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That's interesting -

whereas if we're asked to provide 'the sum of' the square of the other two sides, we know those two sums must first deal with finding the square of each side, and then doing a sum to find the sum of those two individual sums; which process is summed up in Pythagorus's Theory. Simple, really.Whistle
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 2:42:02 PM

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Romany wrote:

That's interesting -

whereas if we're asked to provide 'the sum of' the square of the other two sides, we know those two sums must first deal with finding the square of each side, and then doing a sum to find the sum of those two individual sums; which process is summed up in Pythagorus's Theory. Simple, really.Whistle


d'oh! ..Wel-l-l, I waren't never too gud at cipherin'...Whistle


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
NKM
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 3:26:29 PM

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Well, I were purty good at 'rithmetic back in my skool daze, but I doesn't remember ever hearin' 'bout no "sums" 'cept when we was doin' addition.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 3:38:49 PM

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Romany wrote:
Thar -I remain in awe of your ability to explain so clearly and succinctly. That would probably have had me drivelling on for most of the page!

I agree - that was a great explanation of how I understand it.

In early school (say from four years old to seven) the subject is "sums", not "ciphering" or "mathematics". It really includes only the four simple actions, simple fractions - that's about it.
Usually, tests consist only of 'sums' ("73 x 54 =?"; "27 + 984 - 63 = ?")

Then one starts on maths - decimals, powers, roots - and algebra.
Tests at this level may be pure theory (If a+b=27 and a-b=14, what are 'a' and 'b'?) or they may be problems (like your 'swimming pool' one).

At about eleven, we started on logarithms, followed shortly by the calculus.

A 'problem' includes working out which sums you need to do, then doing them.

No-one ever called any of them 'tasks'.



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
almo 1
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 11:48:00 PM
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Romany wrote:
me drivelling on for most of the page!









Yes.
Drivelling & kibitzing




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