Recently I had to go to a conference and when I walked in, this is what I saw
What questions do you have when you look at this picture?
Ask students to write down their questions, I normally ask students to find at least 3. When I observe that most students have questions written, I ask them to share those questions with their neighbor. I then throw up a Microsoft Word document and start typing down questions students supply. Students from my classroom came up with all sorts of different questions, some we can easily answer and others that we can’t. I am looking for a key question or questions to start this lesson. If students do not ask one of these questions, I tell them that I hope I can answer most of the questions provided, but that I need them to consider one of these questions first.
- How many tables are there?
- How many people are there?
- How many people are in a row?
- How many people can sit at a table?
Any of these type of questions will lead students down the inquiry I hope to explore with them.
There are 512 attendees at this conference, how many tables are needed to seat them all?
How would this change if I needed to seat 900 attendees?
Linear Equations is the topic I wish to address with my students. Students will need to think of counting strategies needed to determine the number of people at the conference. There are many different combinations of ways to figure this number out, but here are the stats:
There are 8 people seated at the head table, but they needed to use 6 tables (extra space was used for the podiums). Otherwise there are 4 sections of tables, 9 rows of tables to a section, 14 people to a row, and the table size is 6′.
These are hard to identify by the picture so the students really work on the following pieces of information: 6′ tables, 9 rows and 512 attendees.
I also ask students to create an equation for the number of tables that are needed.
For comfort reasons, 2 people are seated per table.
You will need 7 tables per row.
4 x 9 x 7+ 6 = 258 tables.
Students will typically write this type of equation based on attendees:
512 = 2x + 8
504 = 2x
252 = x
Then I typically ask them how many tables per row, and what type of configurations makes sense for the conference (does one LONG row really work?).
After we decide the general equation for the conference, I then ask the students how many tables are needed for varying amounts of attendees: 200, 900, 1200, 2500. What type of configurations would work for these new conventions?