2014-06-18

Solving Word Problems |
by Bruce Alford

Solving Word Problems 
 
Read the problem entirely.  Get a feel for the whole problem.  Look for words such as “problems, multiply.”  Next translate the wording into smaller pieces.
 
Examples:
  My mother collected silver and copper coins. One day she observed a black coating on silver coins and a green coating on copper coins. Which chemical phenomenon was responsible for these coatings?
 
  Rhododendron plants grow bigger and faster than other plants.  My mother often planted them around the house.  My father, who mowed lawns for a living, could not distinguish these from ordinary weeds and would cut 70 percent of them. 
Can you solve the anthropomorphic part of the equation?
 
  My father burned a metal (A) found in the clutch of our 1989 Chevy truck. The clutch burnt with a fizzling flame & a white powder (B) was formed which is basic in nature.  Identify A & B.
 
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Bruce Alford’s first collection, Terminal Switching was published in 2007 (Elk River Review Press). He received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Alabama and was an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of South Alabama from 2007-2011. He has published fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry in journals such as the African American Review, Comstock Review, Imagination & Place Press, Louisiana Literature, and many others. He currently lives in Mobile, Alabama.

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