Q2 What character(s) could you add to the losing side of round three to make the round a draw?
This is also a great example of a task that isn't necessarily real-world, but it is interesting for the students. Not everything has to be real-world all the time. The important thing is that the students are discussing the math involved. Maybe some will argue with me that this is real-world...I have seen a lot of wacky things on ESPN 2 late at night, but never the International Tug-Of-War Competition where animals and people are allowed to enter, although that would be interesting television. Same goes for this task...
A few of my students struggled to get started and were hung up on both sides needing to have an equal number of people in physical number and not in amount of strength. I gave the example of myself having a tug-of-war match with one of my student's kindergarten sisters. There would be one person on each side, but it wouldn't necessarily be equal. That worked well.
This task is also a good way to organically get away from a problem being on one side of the equals sign and one number being on the other side. The equal side doesn't necessarily mean question and answer like many students come to me thinking, but both sides being the same amount. When I previously taught 6th grade, problems like 3 + 5 - 2 = 1 + 1 + x would be difficult, and I think this task would help solidify what the equals sign really means.
I was disappointed that some of my students called me out on being as strong as two Ivan's, but in rethinking the reality of the situation, it probably depends on what four grandmas and what two acrobats I would be facing!
Other Task Posts Examples (more available in previous entries)...
Man Versus Squirrel
Grundy Center Middle School
Middle School Mathematics Instructor
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Editorial Panel Chair
Iowa Council of Teachers of Mathematics Regional Director Central Rivers AEA
Iowa Department of Education Statewide Mathematics Leadership Team
Journal of Educational Technology and Society Executive Peer Reviewer
MA Middle Level Mathematics (UNI)
Yager Exemplary Teaching Award