Problem 3: Grandmother Rachel mixed 20 kilograms of jam containing 15% of sugar with 15 kilograms of jam containing 40% of sugar. How many kilograms of

sugar should be added to the new mixture in order to obtain jam that contains 35%

of sugar?

Many students’ difficulties stem from being unable to chunk and label information. When presenting these problems, asks students to first translate the information into a table with labeled columns/rows. Common difficulties with this task include:

-Being too vague with labels (e.g. labeling a column “amount")

-Mislabeling (e.g. labeling a column “mixture” but filling in values that correspond to kilograms of sugar)

Students who are able to make categorical self-explanations while translating an algebra word problem into a table are more successful at finding a correct solution to the problem. A categorical self-explanation for this type of problem is the act of naming the rows and/or columns in a table. These problems can be used to assess how students are categorizing and processing information from word problems.