The Wisdom of the Crowd: First Day Task? #msmathchat

Earlier this summer, I watched this video:

I wonder if we can make this into a task for our 6th, 7th, and 8th graders?  Here’s my idea:

On the first day of school, students are corralled into the gym (7th and 8th grade) and cafeteria (6th), and they are all given their schedules. Most of them who came to Meet the Teacher night received their schedules, but it is easier to give everyone their schedules again on the first day. So what if we had three different jars of candy set up, one for each grade, and had each student guess the number of candies in the jar?

  • Each student will receive a slip of paper when they walk in, and will write their names and their guesses on them.
  • As the slip is handed in, a teacher with their laptop will enter the name and guess in a spreadsheet.
  • On the second day of school, the spreadsheets can be printed and handed to students in math class.
  • Students will watch the video, and discuss the ideas presented. Give their own estimates again of the jar, a la 3 Acts style, “which is the highest estimate, which one is the lowest?”
  • Students will get a copy with the spreadsheet (there are about 150 students in each grade), and will figure out a way to find the average.
  • On the 3rd day, the answer will be announced during the lunch period, with the closest guess receiving the jar of candy.

Here’s where I need your help. I am terrible at creating experiences that are “rich” in that they go beyond just one task as it appears for this one to be.  What else can be added to it?  Is this a task worthy to be tried?

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