I like create math situations for my students that relate to my life. I like to do this in the hopes that my students see that everyday things can be related to the math they are learning. My ultimate goal is for my students to consider the possibility of relating math to their lives. This weekend is log splitting weekend. One thing I love about the non-stop work and chores we have on our property is that often it is mindless work. My job during wood splitting is to roll logs to my husband and to take the split pieces and turn them into a pile. These tasks that do not take much brain power allow me to think about teaching, lessons, and math problems for my middle school students. I take pictures to show my students to help them picture the context of the problems.
Our Pine Logs and Starting Pile
Our Oak Logs and Starting Pile
Here is the information for the problem:
- Big pine logs provide 15 pieces of fire wood
- Small pine logs provide 7 pieces of fire wood
- We have 25 big pine logs and 21 small pine logs
- We split big pine logs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
- We split small pine logs from 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
- The pine pile started with 126 pieces of fire wood
I ask the students what math questions we can ask using this information and the concepts we are working on in class.
In my 7th grade classes we are working on Proportional Relationships, Constant of Proportionality, Unit Rate, Percents so the questions we create will be around those topics. I have questions in mind so that if the students need guidance in creating, I can ask questions to move them if they get stuck.
In my 8th grade class we are working on solving equations.
In a few weeks I'll have my whiteboards up around the room so we can do this activity in a Math 360 environment which will change the entire dynamics of the lesson and the learning.
Here is a photo of the completed wood pile: