Name__________________________________________Date______________________
Volume 4, Number 22, March 1, 1999
www.rhlschool.com

Vocabulary introduction activity is at http://www.rhlschool.com/ref4n22.htm

Mr. El’s fourth graders had just returned to class from Miss Congo’s music class. As soon as all the kids were in their seats, he asked Summer to pass out some papers.
“I just finished copying these math papers for you guys,” he said as he walked to the front of the classroom.
“Mr. El, there are hundreds of problems here!” Christopher wailed.
“Actually, there are only twenty math computation examples,” Mr. El replied. “As you can see, all of them require multiplying two digit numbers times three digit numbers. Simple as a pimple. Or should I say ‘dimple’?”
Brian waved his hand. Mr. El nodded at him.
“Do we have to do all twenty examples?”
“Let me put it this way,” Mr. El replied, “Yes.”
Chelsey held her calculator in the air. “Can we use these?” she asked hopefully.
“You won’t need them. I’ve printed all the answers on the back of each worksheet.”
A cheer went up from the class. However, Erin did not cheer. Her brown eyes stared intently at the teacher as she raised her hand.
“Yes, my flower, do you have a question?” Mr. El asked.
“What’s the catch?”
Mr. El answered with a straight face. “Erin, you’re such a cynic. Couldn’t it be just because your dear teacher loves you? Couldn’t it be because I want to see all your little faces glowing with happiness?”
“No, Mr. El,” Erin scowled.
“OK, here’s the catch. Just in case anyone might tend to rush through his or her work and not worry about whether an answer is correct, that person can’t claim to be unaware of a mistake.”
“But we can just copy the right answers,” John called out.
“Well,” Mr. El responded, “you know how you have to multiply twice and then add the two products to get the complete product? I’ll be checking those two numbers that are above the final answer.”
A chorus of groans rose from the class.
“But, dear teacher, think of all the numbers you’ll have to check, Erin said with mock concern. “It will take you forever to correct all our papers.”
Mr. El was trying not to look too pleased with himself, but he couldn’t suppress his smile. “Not exactly. I’m going to choose five examples randomly and only correct those. Your scores will be based on how well you do on those five examples. But, sad to say, you guys won’t know which five examples I’ll choose until after you’re done.”
A faint voice could be heard from the back row. “The teacher is evil,” it said.
Mr. El grinned. “And remember, flattery will get you nowhere.”

1. What kind of papers did Summer pass out?

a. crossword puzzles
b. math word problem worksheets
c. math computation worksheets
d. paper airplanes

2. Mr. El included the answers on the papers __________.

a. so that the kids wouldn’t have to think
b. to make it impossible to cheat
c. so that all the kids would have to do their best
d. because some kids didn't like multiplication

3. Were there any students who liked Mr. El’s idea?

a. Yes, they all liked it.
b. No, they all disliked it.
c. Yes, exactly three kids liked it.
d. The story doesn’t say.

4. Were there any students who disliked Mr. El’s idea?

a. No, they all cheered when he explained how it worked.
b. Yes, that’s why many of them groaned.
c. Yes, they all thought it was unfair.
d. The story doesn’t say.

5. Mr. El was going to ignore the work done on _______ examples on each worksheet.

a. 25
b. 20
c. 15
d. 10

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