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Summing Up The Skyscraper Problem

In the News | August 22, 2017

MƒA is on Science Friday! We’re thrilled to announce that MƒA is the newest contributor to Science Friday’s educational resources initiative, which provides teachers with STEM activities and lesson plan ideas.

The first activity features work that was done in an MƒA Professional Learning Team (PLT), Problem Solving Cycle: Doing and Implementing Rich Math Tasks in Algebra. MƒA Master Teachers Bushra Makiya and Jon Koenig created this resource, which explores their PLT collaboration with fellow MƒA teachers on ways to teach the math task known as “The Skyscraper Problem.” The lesson focuses on consecutive sums, quadratic equations, and math manipulatives, and it can be adapted for use in 6-12 classrooms. Here is an excerpt: 

“You’ve been asked to plan the construction of a new skyscraper. The board that commissioned it wants to know whether you think self-cleaning windows are worth the added cost. The board asks you to estimate the cost of window cleaning for the entire building to inform their decision. The skyscraper is 50 stories high and is going to be covered entirely by windows on all four sides. Each floor will have 38 windows. Once a year, all the windows will need to be washed. The cost for washing the windows is $2.00 for each first-floor window, $2.50 for each second-floor window, $3.00 for each third-floor window, and so on.

Can you figure out how much it will cost to wash the windows of this building every year?”

Read the full MƒA Science Friday resource, Summing Up the Skyscraper Problem.