Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Crazy Ages Problem - Is there a place for this in CCSS

A variation on a classic for your algebra group!

J is as old as K was when J was half the age he'll be in 10 years. If K is y yrs old, express J's current age in terms of y.

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So you're probably thinking this question is either too hard or irrelevant in the Common Core. I beg to differ!

Before having students attempt to solve this algebraically I would encourage my students to experiment with numerical values. For example suggest a value for y, say y=40 and have them guess some values for x, J's current age. I'm sure you'd agree that this is still a challenging problem but someone will probably guess the correct value, x=30. In fact just verifying that 30 is correct is formidable enough!

Is making a table still a good idea for organizing information? I'll let you decide...

         Present         10 yrs from now

J           x                          x+10

K           y                          y+10

So is there still a value to these "un-real" types of puzzle problems? Do you see the benefits that I do?

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