Category Archives: Problem Solving

Lego Pieces and Feasible Region

This afternoon I came across a tall stack of Lego® boxes stored in my son’s closet; they reminded me of a lesson. (My son just turned 20 three days ago. I can still see him playing with his Lego sets for hours on end when he was younger. And when he ran out of floor space […]

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More Rectangles and One Good Read

I just started reading this book on Ramanujan, and I highly recommend it. Curmudgeon just posted this Painter’s Puzzle yesterday on Christmas Day — what a nice gift for us! A painting contractor knows that 12 painters could paint all of the school classrooms in 18 days. They begin painting. After 6 days of work, though, 4 people were added […]

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Equilateral Triangles

Thank you to Dan Meyer for this great task idea on equilateral triangles. Act One is this video which asks for a ranking of how well each teacher had drawn his equilateral triangle. But as soon as I saw the video, two thoughts came up: We’re in a 0:1 classroom right now, and having the whole class come […]

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Drawing Rectangles Instead of Writing Equations

I don’t see dead people but I see rectangles all the time. The first time I saw a multiplication fact, like 3 x 5, as a rectangular array was after I’d graduated from college. And because I was so very late to this game, I thought drawing rectangles must be how everyone else — at least math […]

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Three Geometry Lessons

1 I love this assignment (from NCTM, I think). The kids shall too. So this front page of congruent_halves is for their final recording. In addition to the extra copy for them to mess around with, you can also give them dot paper to copy the shapes and investigate further. No cheating, see if you can figure out […]

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Mr. Meyer’s Taco Cart

Won’t be long before I have to change the post title to Dr. Meyer’s Taco Cart. This lesson went really well today. Act 1: We watched the video clip. Their guesses: Me: That was fun. Kinda split in the middle there with your guesses. But that question of who gets there first only gave you two choices, […]

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Using Excel for Problem Solving

One of the more enduring lessons that I do with my algebra class is having them use Excel for problem solving. Don’t know why I haven’t written about it as I’ve been teaching this strategy for at least 5 years now. (I don’t recall reading other teachers’ blogs about using Excel this way either. Please let me know if you […]

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Foxy Fives – cuz it’s better than Four Fours

Foxy Fives is my Day 21 lesson (actually a game) that I got from this book. The teacher is supposed to make a deck of 62 cards from posterboard, the cards are marked from 1 to 25, and blah, blah, blah. For the life of me, I don’t know why you’d need a deck of cards at all […]

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Two Lessons: Frog Leap and Beach Ball

I call it Frog Leap but you may know this common game as Stepping Stones or Traffic Jam. NRICH has a nice interactive applet. The challenge is for the 3 boys and 3 girls to switch places in the FEWEST moves possible. A legal “move” is each person can jump onto an adjacent empty space or jump […]

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Patterns Poster for Algebra 1

A month ago I wrote a post on First Day Lessons. Many — more than two — of you expressed interest in the lesson “Patterns Poster” for Algebra 1. I would never redo a lesson if I didn’t think it was worthwhile, and I think this is the 7th year that I do this same lesson to start off algebra. […]

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