Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Lights

aMacHan @ Flickr
Our family put up a Christmas tree this weekend, and it reminded me of one of my favorite problems ever! Students did great work on it, and developed a number of techniques.

On the weekend after Thanksgiving Karen put up a 2 meter tall Christmas tree, 170 cm wide at the base. She put an astounding 1500 lights on the tree. Write a story problem using this information.

One thing you should know about Karen's tree decorating is that she believes that lights should be distributed uniformly throughout the tree, not just on the surface. It's like the tree is full of lights. She started at the base, and put on 750 lights. Then she asked me how many will she need to finish? Now that we know she needed 1500, how far up from the ground did she get with those first 750 lights?

I saw that Abstruse Goose, an funny, edgy cartoon that's hip to math & physics also had some nice Christmas tree problems...

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