Students wrote some interesting division story problems today. We talked about making them real – though that can be tough – and we talked about making them meaningful – though that is certainly a challenge. I proposed to them that math should either be rather interesting or rather useful. Though story problems can fall into this category, they often don’t. For some senseless math check out what happens when we do stuff to numbers… because that’s what we do in math (not really). In the end they came up with a number of interesting and engaging problems that produced more to think about in their creation than in their solving. Here are a few:

There are 160 people at a party and there are 40 pies. Each pie is cut into 7 pieces. How many pieces would each person get?

Sasha made 117 cupcakes. She had platters that held 12 cupcakes each. How many platters does she need?

There are 157 students going on a field trip to Nisqually. There weren’t any buses, so they had to order “10 person” vans. One person brought their mom, dad, brother, and sister. Three teachers came as well. How many vans do they need to order?

The clock factory produces 20 clocks per hour. 143 clocks in the clock factory are finished. They are packed into creates that hold 44 clocks each. How many crates do they need? How many clocks are in the last crate? How long did it take to make the clocks in the first crate filled?

There were 260 3rd graders at a summer camp. Half of them were going to Great Wolf Lodge. A quarter of them were going swimming. The last quarter was staying at camp. The larger group took mini-buses that held 13 campers. The smaller groups took cars that held 5. How many buses and cars did they need?

I think some of these students could write for textbook companies! It’s interesting to see their worlds reflected in their math problems, and I was particularly happy to see how engaged they were in the process.

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They’ve come with some great ones. And it’s great that they’ve been creative and thought about what division actually is rather than just turning the handle!

I think that allowing students’ creativity to drive inquiry in your class is much better idea than letting the pacing schedule drive it.