Source: Cyberchase: “Find Those Gleamers”
Funding for the VITAL/Ready to Teach collection was secured through the United States Department of Education under the Ready to Teach Program.
In this video segment from Cyberchase, Hacker has created a game show called “Find Those Gleamers.” The CyberSquad has to figure out how many power glows are produced by each gleamer bug in order to win the game. Using the information they know about how many glows of power are produced by three gleamer bugs, the CyberSquad uses variables to help them figure out how many glows of power are produced by one gleamer. Then they use this information to calculate how many glows of power are produced by five gleamers.
Here are some Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions for using this video in a math lesson.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame: When you are trying to figure out a mathematical problem sometimes it is helpful to make a drawing to better visualize what is being asked. But drawings can take up a lot of space and may take a lot of time, so often it is helpful to use shortcuts. Instead of writing lots of words or drawing pictures, are there any short-cuts you know of to help communicate an idea mathematically?
Focus: As you watch this segment, look for how the CyberSquad first organizes the information they have. Then think about what they do to solve the problem more efficiently. How and why did they use letters? What kinds of operations did they use?
Follow Up: Why do you think the CyberSquad used letters to stand for different ideas in their problem? These letters are usually called variables. Can you think of other examples in math where variables might be used to stand for quantities or units? Can you think of any real world examples when variables are used?
INEZ: Okay, what do we know?
MATT: Well, we know that 3 gleamer bugs produce 18 units of power glow.
DIGIT: So what's that got to do with anything?!!
JACKIE: I don't know, but maybe if we draw a picture we'll get an idea.
MATT: Those are the silliest looking bugs I ever saw!
INEZ: Get off her case, Matt! Jackie, if you use a letter to stand in for each of your bugs, you can still do what you want and not have your bug-art criticized.
JACKIE: Okay, since they're bugs, let's use B. B, B, B.
DIGIT: Oh great, now we gotta deal with letters instead of bug pictures?!!
JACKIE: Hold on! I'm getting an idea. B stands for bug but it could also stand for the power glows each bug puts out. We've got three Bs putting out 18 units of power. 3B is 18. Hmmm. Three times what is 18? Three times six is 18!
JACKIE: The glow power of one bug is six.
INEZ: See Didge? Letting the letter B stand in for the power of a gleamer helped us figure out the part we didn't know.
DIGIT: Okay...but we've got five slots here. How much power will we get if we fill them all with gleamers?
MATT: Let's see. Hmm. Five bugs...five Bs. If one bug gives off six units of power, then five Bs will be five times six...
DIGIT: I got it! Five times six equals 30.
INEZ: And since there aren't any more slots to fill - 30 glows of power should get the Wreaker started.
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