Friday, April 17, 2015

Doritos Roulette

This task is why I am such a proponent of Twitter. Living in a small district you may be the only game in town when it comes to middle level mathematics (or whatever your subject is). It's difficult to hear about new ideas unless you take your own initiative to seek out said ideas. Through following a select number of mathematical experts on Twitter, I am able to find tasks to ensure my students have the best experience possible. This particular possibility is courtesy of @mathletepearce. How else am I going to connect with a math professional from Canada without Twitter? We did a professional development dealing with Twitter the other day and while we have some outstanding teachers in our district, I was a little surprised that very few were taking advantage of Twitter as an educational tool. I was very pleased that out district is pushing this additional mode of personal professional development.

Here is the task with additional questions. This is what the students saw on my television and on their laptops when they walked in.

I like to make this as real as possible, so I bought a bag of these chips off of Amazon. It cost a pretty penny, but the students really enjoyed actually eating all of the chips and keeping track so we had some real data. @mathletepearce has a video on his link with data if you don't want to buy the chips, but again, I like to use the data that is relevant to my students upping the excitement level.

As we were collecting data (we did this at the conclusion of a few class periods...and by collect data I mean eat chips), I noticed a few inconsistencies. First, we had a lot of broken chips in our bag so it was hard to get an accurate total chip count. We ended up with way more than was supposedly in the bag. In addition to the broken chips, I feel some of my students might be on the wimpy end of the spectrum when it comes to properly identifying a "hot chip." In a bag where the chips are mixed, one would assume that there is a small amount of cross contamination involved. I felt like any small hint of spice resulted in my students tallying a hot chip when in reality it might have been a regular. In the grand scheme of things it didn't really matter because it brought more discussion into the theoretical and experimental probabilities.

One thing I noticed about this task was that it was a little ho hum as far as student answers sans the last question (and I didn't really like that one either as far as answers go, but we did have a nice post discussion). One theory I had was that the questions were not as high level as normal. That may have been it, but I actually think my students are just getting better at solving these tasks...more specifically figuring out what needs to be done. Up to this point many of my students had to spend a lot of time planning out what they needed to do to solve a question. I feel that through the use of these tasks through 6th and now 7th grade (I've had them for back to back years), students are able to dissect the different pieces of information faster leading to a quicker result.

Here are the standards I associated with this task. I have also included student work at the bottom along with my guide to help me quickly discuss with individual students or groups.


My Discussion Sheet

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