Monday, February 10, 2014

Math Is Real Life: 100s Day Computation Challenge Game Board Design

Today I was inspired to join Miss Math Dork in her Math Is Real Life series!  Although this math problem is for school, it is a real life teacher problem, so I think that qualifies. :)

My task was to create not one, but two posters this year for our 100s Day of School math competition.  Although I posted about this last year over at Shut the Door and Teach, this year Mr. E next door wanted his class to join in on the fun.  This time there would be 2 fourth grade classes competing to solve 100 2 digit by 2 digit multiplication problems. 

Therefore, my first task was simple enough.  I needed to find half so I divided by 2.

The next task was a little more complex, and exactly the sort of problem that I've asked my fourth graders to find.  We had decided to be the "Red Team" and the "Blue Team," and I had 2 18" x 24" poster boards in red and blue.  The math questions I had were:
  • Are the posters big enough for 50 Post Its each? 
  • Which area model will work best for my Post Its?
I started out with 3 different area models.  At first I thought 5x10 would be the wrong dimensions for a typical poster board, until I remembered I would want a title.

I love that my models represent what to do with remainders!  They are not just an afterthought; they are important too!

I also love that B and C turned out to be the same, just with a different layout.  Therefore I only had to carry on with two options as I continued.

My next math problem is that each sticky note is 3" by 3."  Therefore I had to multiply the length and width of each row and column by 3.

Seems straightforward, however when thinking about the real world application, a poster requires a bit of "wiggle room."  Practically speaking, I need about 1/4" of space in between each sticky note if we're going to be taking them down and putting them back up again.  That means that after the first 4 rows/columns, I need another inch.  For the 5th through 8th row, I need a second inch, and so on.

(Just noticed a misspelling on one of the "columns," sorry).  Notice that labels became important here!  I admit, when I was writing this out I originally added on to the inches, not to the rows/columns, but I quickly realized my numbers were way too large.  By labeling columns, rows, and inches, I was able to keep track of where to add the extra few inches.

The result:  Sadly, my 18" by 24" poster board was NOT going to work for this project.  Luckily, in true teacher fashion, I had spare chart paper that was plenty large enough.  Here are the results: A little planning and math know-how saved me from having to redo at least one poster!  Now they're ready for Thursday (weather permitting).  I can't wait to show them off to the fourth graders.

If you have a Math Is Real Life story, why not join Miss Math Dork's linky? 
A monthly REAL WORLD 
math blog link-up hosted by

And if you'd like to read up on last year's 100s Day festivities with my fourth graders, you can catch it here at Shut the Door and Teach

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