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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Task Problem Tuesday

 I'm pretty sure I made a goal for regular blogging back in February and here we are almost in May.  Life just gets in the way sometimes!  But here I am back for another Task Problem Tuesday.  If you missed my first post in this series, you can read it here.

Sod in the Park

I completely forgot to take pictures of my students with this task, but it was such a great math task that I am going to post anyway.  We are pretty much right in the middle of testing right now, but I still have a few math standards to cover before we test math.  I am also just coming back after a student teacher and wanted to get my students back into math with me, so I planned a task that allowed my students to use a wide variety of mathematical skills and required some real mathematical thinking.  Here's the background information:

I was really surprised by the number of students who had no idea what sod is.  After reading the background story and talking about what is happening in the story, I passed out the worksheet below. 

The comparison question was required and the two questions dealing with the cost were included for those who finished early or needed a more challenging component to the task. The task requires quite a few math skills.  I thought my students would use all of these:
  • total area of the park and total area one roll of sod will cover
  • dividing the total area by the square footage per roll to find the number of rolls it will take to fill the park 
  • comparing each company's cost for the same amount of sod
  • multiplying whole numbers and decimals 
Most students found that Greener Grass and Simply Sod could easily be compared by doubling the price at Greener Grass.  But when it came to comparing Love Your Lawn's price to them, some realized they could triple Greener Grass to compare it and other students just couldn't figure that out until someone showed them.  My favorite was the student who didn't see that Grow It Green was half of Love Your Lawn and instead decided to multiply 12/18 and $2.40 because he knew he wanted to find the price for 12 of the 18 square feet.  I was pleasantly surprised to see someone comparing companies by multiplying with fractions and thinking in terms of ratios.

It was great to see my students try and tackle this from many different angles.  Our whole hour of math was filled with productive talk and difficult problem solving.  For those students who blazed right through the comparison task, the last two problems on the bottom provided some more difficult problem solving opportunities for them.

If you would like to use this task, you can grab the file with the story and the worksheet here.

Happy Problem Solving!