Monday, October 3, 2011

Come on Down! Problem Solving on the Price is Right

If you're looking for an interesting activity that requires students to practice problem solving, look to The Price is Right!  Surprising right?!

For the 39th season of the show (aired in 2010), The Price is Right introduced a new game called Pay the Rent.  This game is interesting because, unlike most of the games on the show, it requires the contestant to use some problem solving skills.  I guess that should be expected since it's a $100,000 game!

Using this with Students:  

Begin by showing the following video clip.  This is a clip of the day Pay the Rent was introduced on the show. 

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After showing the video clip, ask students to think about what question comes to mind about the game.  There is an obvious question that most students should be able to figure out.
The Question(s):

Is it possible to win this game?   If so, how?...The answer to this question should lead to another question.

If you can win this game, are there multiple ways to win?

Students might also wonder if this game is fair.  The question of fairness could be a good question for debate after students figure out if it's possible to win the $100,000 prize.

Next Step:

After students come up with the question, have them use the prices from the game to see if they can find a way to win the game.  

Once a student or groups figures out one way to win a new question should arise.  Is this the only way to win the game?  

Have students continue to see if they can find multiple ways to win the game.

Class Discussion:
  • Have students share their answers with the class and discuss the possible ways to win.  
  • Discuss the problem solving methods used by students.  
  • Ask students if answering this question was easier or harder than they thought.  Why?
  • Ask students students if they would go about solving this problem the same way again, or if they think there is an easier way to solve it.
  • Ask students if they would want to play this game if they were on The Price is Right.  Why or why not?  Ask if they think it would be easier now that they know the key to the game.
The Answer:

After students have had time to try to figure out if the game can be won, show the following video clip.

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This clip proves that the game can be won and demonstrates how.  If you want students to continue problem solving, have them use the values in this video clip to see if there were other possible to win.

Possible Extensions on this lesson:
  • Have students journal about the methods they used to solve this problem.
  • Have students create a Glog (interactive poster) that illustrates the question and their solution.
  • Have students create a new Price is Right game that involves problem solving. 

Would you use this activity with students?  How would you extend this activity?  Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

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