Thursday, June 5, 2008

Be careful how you ask a question

A JC friend returned from US to this region recently for a short visit. He is into research on student's thought process when learning math. I took a quick browse of his PhD Thesis and found an experiment by Cramer, Post and Currier (1993). I tested it out at Yahoo!Answers. However, it doesn't work as expected the first time. Then, I rephrase the way I present the question, and ... it works the second time.

I suggest readers to try it out first and see the results I got from Yahoo!Answers.
Sue and Julie were running equally fast around a track. Sue started first. When she had run 9 laps, Julie had run 3 laps. When Julie completed 15 laps, how many laps had Sue run?
Link to my experiments: Does your answer make sense? (for students)? and Quick, how many laps Sue ran?

Indeed, even in normal life events not necessary mathematical, the way we ask does affect the way the other party responds.

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