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It is a piece of cake: Algebraic thinking in a real-life situation. (English)
Math. Teach. Middle Sch. 14, No. 1, 52-62 (2008).
Summary: Picture a family gathering on a nice summer day. The finale of the day involved sharing a big cake in the shape of a rectangular prism. This activity raised interesting mathematical questions and led to many discoveries and much discussion. Initially, we asked the children to cut the cake and serve it to the guests. They talked about how many pieces they needed and how big each piece should be. As with many children who choose a piece of cake, they wanted more icing. Subsequently, the children and adults began asking questions about the method of cutting the cake, the amount of icing all would get, and the relationship between the number of cuts and the number of faces with icing. This real-life context intrigued the children, and they began thinking about solution strategies and sharing their findings. In retrospect, the goal of this activity was to facilitate students\rq ability to identify and analyze algebraic relationships in a real-life context. We share activities that can be done by middle school students to explore patterns and investigate multiple conjectures. When completed, students can present their solution strategies.
Classification: H23 D43