In this double period Algebra One project, student partners imagined they were presidents of companies making competing products, in this case Erin’s Darin’ Grills versus Joey Freshy Swagg Grills.
The only restrictions on the products the students picked were that the products had to have a linear pricing system and they had to be in the same product category. Students made partner posters with a table, graph, words, and an equation for each of their products. They located the intersection point graphically and solved a system of equations to find the intersection. Then, to make sure the students were thinking at a higher level, they completed analysis questions where they analyzed the products in relation to one another. When is Joey’s a better deal than Erin’s and why? Is there any point both companies charge the same price? What evidence do you have on your poster that supports your conclusions?
After completing the analysis, students used a template to create a draft of a script for a video in which they would appear together to convince the viewer of whose product was better. While the students wrote the entire script themselves, the template helped guide them to make sure they had a proper introduction of their products and that they considered what their competitor would likely say against them; a portion of the template even suggested points where the students may make emotional appeals or ad hominem attacks on their competitors. Some versions of this project were timed to coincide with rhetoric units in English on types of appeals: ethos, logos, and pathos.
Finally, when students had their script approved and they had practiced, they worked with a teacher, co-teacher, or paraprofessional to make a video of their Shark Tank style product battle.
Both of these students often struggled in math. Yet because these students had a chance to create their own products they felt the pride of making. And because the students had made a video, their work reached an audience that extended beyond the walls of the classroom. The quality of work of these two students on this project and their intrinsic motivation to complete their work and do a good job far exceeded what I saw from them in regular classroom situations in which they did not have the chance to be creative.
Joey Freshy Swag Grills versus Erin’s Darin’ Grills
Creamy Ice Cream versus Swirly Top Ice Cream