Today I decided to do the Mini POW About Mini Camel activity from The Pit and the Pendulum. We decided to skip Corey Camel POW and do this one first. I had not worked through the problem myself prior to doing it with my Algebra IB class today. Please don't judge me on this. Haha! I find that I do not lead the students quite as much when I don't know the answer myself. Actually, the teacher's guide does give you the highest possible answer but doesn't tell you how to arrive there. It does give you the hint to ask the students if the camel has to go straight to the market. (In other words...can he go part of the way and put a portion of his bananas down?)
I knew that the camel had to have some "pitstops" along the way but I had not sat down myself and figured out the problem. I gave the students some manipulatives and gave them approximately 20 minutes to work. I walked around and helped them to model their ideas with the counters. When I had one of the boys in my class tell me he figured it out I was skeptical and made him show me. He and his partner talked me through the situation (which involves the camel only traveling distances of 1 mile at a time - and is pretty cool!!) I was amazed. I often find that my students are better than me at logic problems. I told the student that he had taught me something today and he was so proud.
Typically if my students do not come up with and defend a solution I will work through the problem with the entire class. If no one had come up with a valid solution I would have done that today. Also, if I model the problem solving process with the entire class and we don't come to a solution right away I just tell the class to help me think about the problem and let's see if we can work on it again the next day. It is so exciting to me when my students do it on their own.