In the summer, Costco peddles a buttload of educational workbooks. You know the ones: collections of every worksheet necessary for your child to complete <insert grade here> Math. Can’t find them? Look over by the Christmas trees.

I picked up the Grade 3 book. Just browsing. Killing time. I opened to this page:

I’m not a big fan of this approach. Forget about comprehension, just scan for the add or subtract words. See *more*, think *add*. But it’s not that easy. *More* shows up in five of the practice exercises. Try them.

- In the picture, how many
**more** 4-legged animals are there than 2-legged ones?
- Peter has 39 goats. Â He wants to have 64 goats. Â How many
**more** goats should he buy?
- Peter has 68 animals on his farm. Â He buys 23
**more**. Â How many animals does he have now?
- 413 gulls are joined by 311
**more**. Â Then 136 **more** gulls come. Â How many gulls are there altogether?
- There are 576 gulls, but 153 fly away. Â Then 283
**more** leave. Â How many gulls remain?

A mountie (really?!) tells kids (Canadian, no doot) to decide on the operation.

From the answer key:

- In the picture, how manyÂ
**more**Â 4-legged animals are there than 2-legged ones? **15Â âˆ’ 12 = 3**
- Peter has 39 goats. Â He wants to have 64 goats. Â How manyÂ
**more**Â goats should he buy?Â **64 âˆ’ 39 = 25**
- Peter has 68 animals on his farm. Â He buys 23Â
**more**. Â How many animals does he have now?Â **68 + 23 = 91**
- 413 gulls are joined by 311
**more**. Â Then 136Â **more**Â gulls come. Â How many gulls are there altogether?Â **413 + 311 + 136 = 860**
- There are 576 gulls, but 153 fly away. Â Then 283Â
**more**Â leave. Â How many gulls remain?**Â 576 âˆ’ 153 âˆ’ 283 = 140**

Subtraction is used to answer three of five questions with this ‘add’ word. Actually, kids *will* think addition for the first two questions (12 + 3 = 15 and 39 + 25 = 64) but that’s another post.

### Like this:

Like Loading...

*Related*

Great post. I’m also thinking that their shallow interpretation of the word “more” ignores the type of value being added. Young students might not deal with negative numbers frequently, but I do want them to develop the natural intuition that adding a negative value can result in us having less, not more.

Thanks, Shaun. You’re right. And I hadn’t thought about it from the “little white lie” angle (e.g., “Kid, you can’t subtract 6 from 4, no matter how hard you try” and later “Let me tell you about integers”). But this example is worse than lying today then telling the (new) truth tomorrow; this is a lie from the get-go.