Today for a warm-up I gave my classes one of John Stevens’ awesome Would You Rather prompts: Would you rather receive 500 pounds of pennies or 40 pounds of quarters? The discussion was great. Most students wanted to figure out which one was worth more, so I threw that out to them as a bonus question. I had them think for a minute and then move to opposite sides of the room, a la Brad Fulton. My favorite part ended up being one student who kept bouncing back and forth from one side to the other as she changed her mind. Her reasoning at different times included thoughts like:
“Well the pennies weigh 12 and a half times more than the quarters.”
“But one quarter is worth 25 times more than a penny.”
“But I think it takes about 2 pennies to weigh the same as one quarter.”
The discussion was great. Most couldn’t believe that the prompt was based on a true story. I ended up showing them the article linked on the WYR website. Middle schoolers ALWAYS need proof.