This spring I started using the window next to my classroom door as a way to display a weekly math problem for students to solve. I used Crayola Window Markers to write the problem on the window. I then taped an envelope to the window with small pieces of paper in for students to write their answer and names on. Then in my classroom I took an ice cream bucket and cut a hole in the top lid for students to put their answers in. This is the one time that I was not worried about students showing their work; they just needed to give an answer. Once they placed an answer in the bucket they could not take it back out or place a new answer in.
Below are a few types of problems that students might find on the window.
There are 25 students in class, and every student shakes hands with every other person in the class. How many handshakes are there?
A frog is at the bottom of a 10 meter well. Each day he climbs up 3 meters. Each night he slides down 1 meter. On what day will he reach the top of the well and escape?
2/3 of a number is 8. What is 1/3 of that number? What is the number?
Carrie loved candles on her birthday cake. Each year Carrie’s mother placed the number of candles for Carrie’s current age in addition to the candles from the year before. If Carrie turns 8 this year, how many candles will Carrie’s mother place on her birthday cake?
This was not required of students but the majority got involved in this activity. If I forgot to put up a new problem after a week students were on my case to get one up. When a new problem was put up there would be a mass of students around my door trying to solve the problem that you could not even get into my room or my neighboring teachers room. I would have to shoo students on to their next class because they would rather stand in the hall trying to solve the problem instead of moving on. Students would take pictures of the problem on ipads so that they could take it with them to solve in homeroom.
Students did earn a prize (candy usually) if they submitted a correct answer. Students who would just copy from other students soon found out that if a lot of students got the answer correct that the prize was less than if a few were correct. This helped cut down on cheating. There were those that tried using google and Siri to get the answers. Some students got very upset with that but I was at least glad they were trying to find a resource to help them out
Here are a few pictures of students trying to solve a problem.
If you have any questions or suggests please send them my way.