Yesterday we decided to add a little more explanation at the beginning of the Scientific Notation Game hoping to clarify the rules of the game. When we were writing the problem this was something that we discussed quite a bit. Sometimes there is a fine line between giving too little information and giving too much information. I think we may have erred on the side of too little information this time!
Students seem to be having a difficult time with this problem. We've noticed this because of the number of submissions so far and also the quality of the submissions. We've had students submit questions to the Math Forum's general "help" link and also to the Teacher2Teacher service! Each time I've responded giving a bit more info on the example but I'm not sure if it's really been helping.
I'm really curious if anyone has ideas about this. Is the topic of scientific notation not familiar enough to a student at the pre-algebra level and that's why they're having so much difficulty? Was it the idea of a game that made things too confusing?
Actually, we developed this idea from a FunPoW that we ran earlier this school year called The Place Value Game:
I wonder if students might find playing that game helpful?
Any thoughts you might share about this week's problem would be appreciated. We're always interested in how you think we might improve our problems to help students learn more and understand more about mathematics.