1. ## Story problem help

I have a story problem that I'm having a hard time with. Can someone please help me solve this. I'm teaching a 5th grade class and this is one that is supposed to stump us! Thanks!

It says:
Can the following story problem about Jim's medicine be solved by subtracting 1/3-1/4? If so, explain why. If not, explain why not and solve the problem if it can be solved. Write a different story problem that can be solved by subtracting.

Here is the story. Jim has a small container filled with one tablespoon of medicine. Jim poured out 1/3 tablespoon of medicine. Jim then poured out 1/4 tablespoon of medicine. Now how much medicine is left in the container?

I said no the following story problem can't be solved by subtracting 1/3 and 1/4. They are part of different wholes. I need help on if it can be solved and if so how or if not what kind of problem can 1/3-1/4 work for? Thanks everyone!

2. Originally Posted by MathMack
I have a story problem that I'm having a hard time with. Can someone please help me solve this. I'm teaching a 5th grade class and this is one that is supposed to stump us! Thanks!

It says:
Can the following story problem about Jim's medicine be solved by subtracting 1/3-1/4? If so, explain why. If not, explain why not and solve the problem if it can be solved. Write a different story problem that can be solved by subtracting.

Here is the story. Jim has a small container filled with one tablespoon of medicine. Jim poured out 1/3 tablespoon of medicine. Jim then poured out 1/4 tablespoon of medicine. Now how much medicine is left in the container?

I said no the following story problem can't be solved by subtracting 1/3 and 1/4. They are part of different wholes. I need help on if it can be solved and if so how or if not what kind of problem can 1/3-1/4 work for? Thanks everyone!
sure, why not ?

$\displaystyle 1 - \frac {1}{3} = \frac {2}{3}$

only question is, is he spilling 1/4 from the starting value or from what left there after first spilling ???

if he spilled 1/4 of tablespoon as wrote there in "story" than

$\displaystyle 1 - \frac {1}{3} = \frac {2}{3}$

$\displaystyle \frac {2}{3} - \frac {1}{4} = \frac {5}{12}$

but if what he spilled 1/4 from what left after first spill than

$\displaystyle \frac {2}{3} - \frac {1}{4} = \frac {5}{12}$

$\displaystyle \frac {2}{3} - \frac {5}{12} = \frac {3}{12}$

i have little problem here because English is not my first language which can be concluded from the post