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Pow: a sticky gum problem

Intent

As with all POWs, students explore a problem outside of class and communicate their thinking in writing. This POW taps students’ developing skill at finding and using patterns from the previous unit, and asks students to count possible outcomes, a strategy used throughout the current unit to find probabilities. This POW also helps students understand what is meant by a generalization. It also provides a constructive opportunity to understand what distinguishes a POW from an ordinary homework assignment: the focus on generalization and exploration.

Mathematics

At the heart of this activity is the counting concept known as the “pigeonhole principle.” Informally, the pigeonhole principle states that if you have more pigeons than pigeonholes, at least one of the holes will contain more than one pigeon. In this activity, the “pigeonholes” are different colors of gum balls. If two children want to buy gum balls of the same color from a machine containing gum balls of three colors, in the worst case , the first three gum balls would be three different colors (they will fill the three pigeonholes). The next gum ball would have to match one of the first three. So, the children would have to buy at most four gum balls to be sure to get two of the same color.

Progression

This POW is introduced at the start of the unit, with presentations about a week later.

Approximate time

10 minutes to pose activity and short periods to check on progress

1 to 3 hours for activity (at home)

20 minutes for presentations

Classroom organization

Groups of 3 or 4 for brief segments, concluding with whole-class presentations

Doing the activity

Students can begin working on this POW on the first day of the unit. The activity begins with several special cases and then asks students to search for a general method, given any number of children and any number of colors, for finding the number of gum balls one must buy to be sure the children all get the same color gum ball. A class discussion of the first special case—in which the answer is given and students are asked to explain why it is correct—might help students get started.

Discussing and debriefing the activity

After a week or so of having students work outside of class, with perhaps a portion of one day devoted to a progress check, have some students present their results.

Focus the discussion on the process of trying different examples, organizing the information, looking for patterns, expressing patterns symbolically, and explaining patterns, rather than on specific formulas. At this early stage, you might expect only some students to arrive at a general formula.

Key questions

In each specific case, what is the smallest number of gum balls the children could purchase and all get the same color? Why?

In each specific case, how many gum ball purchases would guarantee that the children would all get the same color? Why?

For any specific number of children, how does the number of colors available affect the number of gum balls one would need to buy? What patterns can help you to answer this question?

For any number of available colors, how does the number of children affect the number of gum balls one would need to buy? What patterns can help you answer this question?

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
hi
Loga
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, The game of pig. OpenStax CNX. Nov 19, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10488/1.2
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