Mathspig tried the m&m Algebra Challenge in her ICME 13 Workshop in Hamburg.
BUT … I bought PEANUT m&ms. OH Nooooooooo!
They were the WRONG SHAPE. Deformed m&ms bounced everywhere. All I could do was collect the m&ms in my gloved hands and hand them out to the workshop participants. They seemed to enjoy the failure.
But Mathspig does not give up that easily.
Here is the m&m ALGEBRA CHALLENGE with PLAIN m&ms.
The Great m+m ALGEBRA CHALLENGE
1. Open a packet of PLAIN m&ms. (Wear white Gloves like the m+ms)
2. TIP onto table. (Put a few books around the edge to define an area.)
3. Sort the m&ms into:
…m -UP pile.
4. REMOVE the m-UP pile.
5. PICK up m-DOWN pile and TIP again.
6. REPEAT until only 1 m+m is left.
The pattern should follow the exponential equation here:
Did it work? Check it out below.
Who knew one family packet had 366 m+ms?
You’ll find a worked ‘theoretical’ example here.
Here’s the ANSWER:
Try it. Middle school students have to see
that applying maths in the real world can be tricky but logical.
And a lot of FUN too.