Raising the Bar on Writing to Birds’ Eye View


Week three of the MTBos brings us to Questions 101.  I enjoy reading Dan Meyer’s blogs, receiving his emails, and tweets.  He shared this site a while back in the summer (or that was when I first stumbled upon it).  The idea is to pose a picture and educators, or students can utilize the photos/pictures for a multitude of situations.

I love touching on the ubiquity of mathematics…  All we have to do is look around, and it’s there for us in common and uncommon places.   So, I turned to my not so favorite topic, birds (thanks to Mr. Poe, and Mr. Hitchcock) on a traffic light post.  Our district is challenging us to become more creative and diligent in having our students create work that incorporates writing.  So, with this picture, I gave the students 3 minutes to come up with their own mathematical problem that was not simple in nature.  The “story” problems were then shared with each other in their groups.  Students then shared their favorites.  The problems created astounded me.  How different students saw the photo  I shared one of them on the 101 questions website :  http://www.101qs.com/

1.  If one bird flies off, then three follow, then three follow each of those three, etc.. each minute, for 10 minutes, then how many total left?

2.  How many birds would it take to cause the crashing down of the light post (which then the discussion turned to how we would figure this out…  mass of birds, …  strength of the post,…  wind resistance if any…  a ptetdactyl ended that question)

3.  If the One way sign was the 0 on a number line, and each bird represented an integer, how would the equation look if we combined the birds together?

4.  Another student noticed the posts as a type of absolute value (hooray! and ??? )

I plan to keep asking students to create questions for writing  prompts.  I will also start asking students to critique other’s questions and see how we can improve both upon the math but also the writing aspect throughout this year.  More to come!