We welcomed sixth graders to middle school math with an introductory problem solving challenge. The task was to arrive at their assigned seat while avoiding the lava pit (carpet), using only red circle mats and available furniture in the room. Obstacles were added, criteria adjusted, and students needed to remain flexible in their thinking. A variety of innovative plans were discussed, multiple attempts were made, and in the end, all students made it to their seats.
We are currently tackling a task to help Mrs. Girdwood with our Artist in Residence project. She needs a scale model of the walls of the cafeteria to use in the planning phase. This is a perfect 6th grade activity because some of the major work for this grade is to understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.