Thursday, February 12, 2015

IMP Cookies unit problem with a "New" twist

The unit problem in IMP Cookies has to do with finding the maximum profit for a bakery when they meet constraints pertaining to oven space, preparation time, amount of dough and amount of icing. Throughout the unit the students do activities that give them all the information and tools they need in order to answer the unit problem. My often-mentioned teaching buddy Mrs. New has done a couple of really cool things with this unit problem. She is having the students to present their findings to a panel of administrators, our instructional partner and another math teacher. They are going to have to tell them what amount of iced and plain cookies will give them the highest profit and prove to them why.

The BEST part is the idea that Sonya had of telling the students that they could change ONE and ONLY ONE constraint. She has told the students to make a proposal to the panel of which item they should increase. Should they buy another stove, hire another person, or buy more dough or icing? There are some constraints that even if their limits are increased they will not increase the profit. I LOVED this idea. I am doing the "lazy version" of Sonya's activity and just having the groups present to the class. I have tried to encourage the groups to be creative as to why they chose the constraint to increase. I told them they could make up a story to go along with it in order to convince us that it is the best thing to do. However, they are also supposed to have a new graph that reflects the changes in the constraint. I had students to realize today as they were preparing that they chose to increase an item that did not improve their profit. Their feasible region was still the same.

I love teaching with creative people! Sonya is ALWAYS coming up with really cool ideas and activities. I will update this post after her groups have done their presentations...I'm sure she will have some awesome things to share.

UPDATE after presentations:
Things we like:

  • We love the problem...especially having the students change one constraint and then explain if it improves the profit!
  • Mrs. New loved having the students present in front of a panel
  • Mrs. New's students loved that they went in a separate room to present...no other students were present during their presentations
  • Mrs. New required them to have a digital presentation - most used Prezi or Powerpoint
Improvements:
  • The students didn't seem to fully understand what we wanted from them. We need to somehow do a better job of explaining the purpose.
  • To address the above bullet...Ms. Whitt mentioned she wished we could model a presentation for the students...maybe use the Picturing Pictures activity to model a presentation, then let them practice presentations in the classroom using Rock 'n' Rap
  • Remind the students to explain the problem like nobody has a clue what they are talking about...give some background info...
The students presented in this small "conference" room