Make Math Moments Academy › Forums › Full Workshop Reflections › Module 2: Engaging Students Using Problems That Spark Curiosity › Lesson 24: How to transform textbook problems into captivating tasks › Lesson 24 Question & Sharing › Reply To: Lesson 24 Question & Sharing

This is the original problem from the first unit of my 9th grade algebra curriculum. I used this problem in August of 2021 and it didn’t work very well. The question [as written] did not encourage spark curiosity, nor did it ask my students to think about the math.
ORIGINAL PROBLEM
Who got the better deal?
Both Larry and Linda bought the same value meal deal.
The menu price for the meal deal was $4.99.
Larry had a $1 off coupon he used first and then got a 10% student discount.
Linda used her 10% student discount first, and then used the $1 off coupon.
Who got the better deal?
REVISED PROBLEM
[1] Both Larry and Linda used discounts to buy the same value meal deal … [I deleted the title and set the scene. I also added “used discounts” to the wording of the original problem for clarification].
[2] Who got the better deal? … [I ask the question].
[3] Estimations … [I encourage students to make estimations based on what they know].
[4] Release of more information … [In response to student questions, I release more information].
[a] The menu price for the meal deal was $4.99.
[b] Larry used a $1 off coupon he used first and then got a 10% student discount.
[c] Linda used her 10% student discount first, and then used the $1 off coupon.
While I haven’t used the revised problem in class [yet], I believe that my students will find it more interesting in its revised form.