When students asked if we could hang some holiday decorations, they probably didn’t realize they would get a math problem in return.
Put a pile of garland on the floor with the question, “”Is there enough garland to go across our room?”” and students are engaged. Right away, they started making predictions and asking questions of their own.Then they were told they couldn’t touch the garland/stretch it out to answer the question. Time to problem solve.
Some students read the tag on the garland to determine length of one garland, measured the floor, and did numerical calculations. Some didn’t want to wait for a metre stick so they compared floor tiles and ceiling tiles, since they already knew the length of a floor tile. And others realized they first had to determine which way was across and which way the garlands would be hung, straight or ”loopy”.
Lots of thinking to answer a little question.