As readers of the blog know, I had a delightful exchange recently with Tom Rice and his middle school algebra sleuths which can be found here.

Tom promised some pictures. Here they are, with his notes:

Sorry for the delay, but we’ve had a hard time lately of getting everyone together for a picture.  It’s finally attached:


 We also are attaching some pictures from our work with the Rock Problem, including our Letter Board where we worked on our overall presentation (with and without Josie) and our Proof Board, where we kept track of kids’ discoveries on how to make the various weights from 1-40 pounds.

Rocks Letter Board






Rock Proof Board





Finally, we’re sending a picture called Firefighter Kyle.  The picture didn’t come out perfectly, but we thought you might like the story.  There’s another problem in Pearson’s text in a section about quadratics dealing with how high up a firefighter could reach in a building with a certain hose.  In making a quick diagram and checking the discriminant, we were discussing whether a firefighter would want water going into the building on its way up or on its way down, since both are options with a parabola.  (You might be able to see simple drawings of that on the extreme left of the photo.)  As it turns out, Kyle’s dad is a former firefighter; Kyle went home and asked about the proper technique.  This is a shot of his presentation to the class about what he had learned.  

Firefighter Kyle

We are still working on Pythagorean shapes and hope to have some findings to share soon.  And thanks again for putting us on the blog; the kids have loved showing it to their parents at home.  We’re interested to see how your readers will react to your addendum [a postscript by me, Grant, containing the official response from Pearson about Problem 42b] regarding the extra penny!