Kids Say the Darned Things and No Pseudo Real World Problems Here, Mostly

Friday while we were making Hexaflexagons:
"I am going to be a Hexflexa Mast-a"
"This is going to be Hecka hexaflexa fun."
"This is Hexaflexa confusing."

And on Monday, one of the least "mathy" students brings me a perfect paper hexaflexagon, and the other students can't wait to get their grubby hands on it. Go Jon! (Now please do your homework)

So I was given another hand-out for studying systems of equations with "ticket" problems. (You know, 7 adult tickets cost and blah, blah, blah) Now that I've Dan Meyer's mantra of "no pseudo context," Who in the heck cares about ticket sales of the fall drama production? (Besides a geek-meister like me, giggle) Instead, I threw out this problem as a "goal," without much context:

Plan A: $60 per month
Plan B: $40 per month and a $200 one time joining fee

After how many months will the plans cost the same? Which one is the better plan?

I didn't really care if the students thought it was a Health Club or a Phone plan. Whatev...
What I cared about was what they constructed after they found the answer.

I asked them to use equations. Easy. They got it...but then I asked them to compare guess and check tables from month 10 onward, all the while asking which was a better rowdiest, most immature class (right before lunch, 46% upper classmen...the kids the middle school teachers hip-hip hurrahied about when they socially promoted out of 8th grade and then the Juniors that are grasping at a last chance to graduate) were the MOST thoughtful and opinionated students! We talked about how long we were planning to use the gym/cell phone/whatev, what about if we wanted to join but didn't have, how much, $240, at the time, but did have $60? Oh, so this isn't real enough for you, let's talk about a renting vs. owning a home! Boy did those kids go for it! Here was the proposition:
Own: $2000/month

Rent: Not responsible for repairs, can come and go,  no taxes, don't have to worry about economy, no big initial investment
Own: Do whatever remodeling you want, more stable, no jerk landlords, build equity, can make noise

I may have started with "semi-pseudo" context, but we ended up getting real. I think my students are so darned smart, don't you?

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