Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Coke v Sprite - have the kids build a model of the problem.

So Dan Meyer posted this:

[WCYDWT] Coke v. Sprite from Dan Meyer on Vimeo.

So I decided to try and figure a way to let kids model this problem in Etoys.
My first attempt used kedama to show the "soda molecules" moving around and let the kids move the soda into the eye dropper and then into the coke glass and back.

I then decided on using a simpler approach using a set of 10 Sprite boxes in a container and 10 Coke boxes in a container.  And asked the kids to move the 2 Sprite boxes into the Coke container, then shuffle the Coke container and take the top four boxes and move them back to the Sprite container.  And have them do this a few times and think about how this relates to the Coke v Sprite problem.

The completed project is here, but I think it might be better to walk the kids through building a model themselves.

Finally the simplest approach at a table with a deck of cards using 10 red cards and 10 black cards.  When I did this with my son, who had also seen the other two methods, he just kept shaking his head and muttering things like "that's crazy, it doesn't make sense".  He believed what he saw but it so went against the model he had in his head there was major cognitive dissonance.  I told him this was great, when you find something that seems really couter-intuitive, but the evidence proves its true you are really onto something and learning.

I liked this approach best (sometimes its best to "step away from the computer ;).

What to you think? How can we use this problem to help kids learn?

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