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Introduce algebra into the upper elementary classroom with an inquiry based task that will engage your students. This task will encourage your student to find ways to record and keep track of their data (function tables), write expressions to tell how many cans each student has brought in that will work for all days (using variables and recognizing number patterns), and create a line graph to show how many cans each student has brought in.
Here's the task: The fourth grade is collecting cans and will be donating all of the money they earn to the local children's hospital. The class is having a competition to see who can bring in the most aluminum cans.
Anna brings in 40 cans to start and then brings in one can each day. Javier starts with 30 cans and brings in 2 cans each day. Hakim starts with 10 cans and then brings in 4 cans per day and Mark starts with no cans, but brings in 8 cans each day.
Who has brought in the most cans on day 10? Day 12? What if they collected cans for 100 days?