So our admin is having us create performance tasks for our kids to get them used to solving these types of problems so that when the common core assessments are in place they won’t be totally shocked by them. If you haven’t checked out the smarter balanced website yet, I would suggest doing it. They have a ton of example problems. I started today having the kids work on some of these to get them used to the wording and format. But back to the performance task. So our admin has asked us to prepare one performance task and give it to the kids, then we will report back on how it went. Since we are working on unit rates right now, I created one around this topic. My kids started today, but will finish them tomorrow.
Here is what I am having them do: They are planning a BBQ themed party during winter break. I gave them a list of 20 party goers and their food orders. They had to figure out how much food is needed for the party, find the unit rates for the different foods, find out how many packages/containers they would need to buy, and find their total, making sure they stayed within budget. I was really nervous to have the kids do this, because there were many parts that needed to be done. I haven’t graded them yet, but what I do know is that when I asked one of my classes (my lowest class) how it went, several of them exclaimed, “AWESOME!” Wow. Ok. I asked them why it was so awesome, and they said things like, “because it made sense” and “because you told us how to do everything we needed to do, then we just had to do it”. I’m not sure if it was the set up, or the real world application, but I really don’t feel like the response would be the same had I given them a list of unit rate problems to solve.
I will warn you, if you do this problem, please be prepared for questions such as this:
When you say how many hamburgers and buns, do we take the number of hamburgers and multiply it by 2?
Do we count buns twice, one for the top bun and one for the bottom bun?
Do hamburger and hot dog buns come together in a package?
Ahhhh, middle school.