Here is the link to the original task:
Normally for these tasks I have the students start on their own as soon as they walk in by providing the directions and links on my television. This task has a lot of directions and rules that are worth going over ahead of time as a group first. I gave every student a copy of both of the price sheet and the tally sheet which are both provided on the above link. The students can write all over these and use them as a guide to help come up with their totals. I also printed off a copy of 3/4 inch grid paper to help the students see how many squares of land they are using (the blocks we used were approximately 3/4 inch cubes).
For these tasks I typically give a full day in class and then a week to complete before being due. I did the same here. I have done this twice now and presented it as a competition. The winner gets an A. If you are within 10% of the winner's cost you get an A, within 20% you get an A- and so on. The lowest you can get is a B- as long as you make a profit. My classroom is self-paced and we fix and correct everything we do for full credit so all of my students have As anyway, so I didn't feel bad about inserting the grade component into the competition. Those getting a B- weren't effected that much and I gave the students opportunities to keep modifying their idea as many times as they wanted.
I don't have the blocks that snap together in all directions so I feel that sometimes limits our designs, but the students get fairly creative with laying blocks across blocks to make something different. Each year I have students who go straight for the tower 50 blocks high to see if that would result in a high total. They always think about the tax last, which ends up being pretty funny to me because they go from the top of the world to depressed in the matter of 30 seconds.
When individuals or groups are finished, I have them take pictures of their hotels from all angles and send them to me. I also have them turn in their calculations. I use this information to check on accuracy. I hand it back if there are mistakes for correcting. Once everything has been approved, I put the numbers on a spreadsheet for the students to see. The spreadsheet looks like this...
Below I have included a few examples of price plans as well as some designs. The students really enjoyed this task and many worked very hard to be at the top spot!
Bubble Wrap Task