Task of the Week: So many stairs!
Our new Task of the Week is located in the United States. On the campus of the University of California Santa Cruz the PhD student for mathematics education Julianne Foxworthy created the task “So many stairs!”. She gave us an interview about this task and her usage of MathCityMap.
How did you get in contact with MathCityMap? How do you use MCM?
I discovered the app when I met Iwan Gurjanow [MCM team of the Goethe University Frankfurt] at PME in Sweden last year. I used to teach math to 10-13 year-olds, and I used math trails with them (low-tech version!) and they loved them.
I created the “MBAMP Math Trail“ that this task is a part of for a professional development program for teachers of young students (6-9 year-olds). The teachers were all very interested in using math trails with their students. In the future, I’m planning on creating a series of math trails for various ages at our town’s famous beach boardwalk, so look out for that one!
Please describe your task. How could it be solved?
“So many stairs!” is a very simple task aimed at very young children. The question is, how many steps will you climb altogether, if you and two friends decide to race up the stairs all the way to the door of the library.
The problem solver needs to count all the stairs leading to the library and then, and this will be the tricky part for the youngsters, determine how many stairs will be walked by themselves and their friends.
The teachers who tried the task gave me very helpful feedback about being very clear with my language. The word “step” could be a stair (that’s what I intended) or it could mean a step taken by a person. The second meaning could result in a different answer (e.g., what if a person took the stairs two at a time?).