Played this game for years and it is still fun! (5th graders enjoy it also. It is a fun way for them to develop fluency with mental math strategies.) Not sure if it originated from the TERC people or the University of Chicago Math Project (which became Everyday Math). I wonder if anyone knows. It's easy to differentiate this game as well. Do you have students who would benefit from working with smaller numbers? Deal out 3 cards and have them find the smallest difference from a 1 digit -1 digit subtraction problem.

What a lovely question for all the reasons you mention and many more. I see that it is called a Second Grade Math Problem, which is interesting because I would have no reservations about using it (or a redirected version of it) for my 9th grade students. Thanks for sharing.

"more choice, optimization, collaboration, randomization, experimentation, and iteration than those common approaches" what a great way to end the year! Thank you. Now, I have the this problem floating before me at the breakfast table. Everyone is getting a stack of cards after dinner tonight.

I love this type of problem. This issue is not that problems need to be “real world” but rather they need to be REAL. They need to engage with no obvious right answer. They need to allow students to engage with one another about what they are doing. They need to be open to all levels of performance and feel satisfying to everyone making an attempt. I once had a problem like this. Though I can’t remember what it was I do remember that one child made over 50 attempts before he was able to solve it with satisfaction. He grew miles in the attempt. That is what a problem should do.

No "real world" context required, but most days I'd be happy for any context at all. Flip through any standard algebra text: Turn this arrangement of mathematical symbols into a different arrangement of mathematical symbols, which we will call "simplified." No, we will not be doing anything with this result, just check against the answer key and move on to the next one.

I'd loosely define "context" as "The math you do gets USED for something" even if the something is just more math. "Solve this equation and then locate your solution on this graph" has at least SOME context to it. There's really no excuse for context-free math, once we see that context can come from math itself.

I don’t get the obsession with finding ‘real world’ examples of mathematics - it is but ideas; profoundly beautiful and useful ideas that can be applied absolutely everywhere. Maybe as teachers we need to be explicit about mathematical thinking as a skill, instead of reducing it to a set of specific applications to be remembered for exams.

This type of math challenge is also well suited to throw at a programming class to see if they can code a solution. My Python class will get this as a mini-project soon!

I'm reminded of how closely linked learning is with play. I'm always saddened by the loss of engagement and fun as an important metric for education as kids get older.

1) My tagline into most board games with primary aged kids is that the best ones use both elements of story (which we can call language arts) and of course math. I told a group of 3rd graders that Labyrinth didn't have much math but I was corrected by my colleague: even the shifting shapes of that classic game relate to math concepts.

2) Just realized that my relatively new role - K-8 enrichment coordinator - means I might be able to benefit from that symposium. May check it out. .

Played this game for years and it is still fun! (5th graders enjoy it also. It is a fun way for them to develop fluency with mental math strategies.) Not sure if it originated from the TERC people or the University of Chicago Math Project (which became Everyday Math). I wonder if anyone knows. It's easy to differentiate this game as well. Do you have students who would benefit from working with smaller numbers? Deal out 3 cards and have them find the smallest difference from a 1 digit -1 digit subtraction problem.

What a lovely question for all the reasons you mention and many more. I see that it is called a Second Grade Math Problem, which is interesting because I would have no reservations about using it (or a redirected version of it) for my 9th grade students. Thanks for sharing.

Finding the answers to Dan's questions would be a challenge for students in a college-level statistics and probability class.

"more choice, optimization, collaboration, randomization, experimentation, and iteration than those common approaches" what a great way to end the year! Thank you. Now, I have the this problem floating before me at the breakfast table. Everyone is getting a stack of cards after dinner tonight.

I love this type of problem. This issue is not that problems need to be “real world” but rather they need to be REAL. They need to engage with no obvious right answer. They need to allow students to engage with one another about what they are doing. They need to be open to all levels of performance and feel satisfying to everyone making an attempt. I once had a problem like this. Though I can’t remember what it was I do remember that one child made over 50 attempts before he was able to solve it with satisfaction. He grew miles in the attempt. That is what a problem should do.

Negative numbers allowed?

They're allowed if you allow 'em.

No "real world" context required, but most days I'd be happy for any context at all. Flip through any standard algebra text: Turn this arrangement of mathematical symbols into a different arrangement of mathematical symbols, which we will call "simplified." No, we will not be doing anything with this result, just check against the answer key and move on to the next one.

I'd loosely define "context" as "The math you do gets USED for something" even if the something is just more math. "Solve this equation and then locate your solution on this graph" has at least SOME context to it. There's really no excuse for context-free math, once we see that context can come from math itself.

I don’t get the obsession with finding ‘real world’ examples of mathematics - it is but ideas; profoundly beautiful and useful ideas that can be applied absolutely everywhere. Maybe as teachers we need to be explicit about mathematical thinking as a skill, instead of reducing it to a set of specific applications to be remembered for exams.

This type of math challenge is also well suited to throw at a programming class to see if they can code a solution. My Python class will get this as a mini-project soon!

I _definitely_ fired up Pycharm for this one.

I'm reminded of how closely linked learning is with play. I'm always saddened by the loss of engagement and fun as an important metric for education as kids get older.

1) My tagline into most board games with primary aged kids is that the best ones use both elements of story (which we can call language arts) and of course math. I told a group of 3rd graders that Labyrinth didn't have much math but I was corrected by my colleague: even the shifting shapes of that classic game relate to math concepts.

2) Just realized that my relatively new role - K-8 enrichment coordinator - means I might be able to benefit from that symposium. May check it out. .

3) Hope you and yours are well, Dan.