# Holiday problem to discuss

Since last month's problem didn't spark any discussion, I hope this one does.    This problem uses area models to arrive at a solution.  This is a great strategy to get the brain engaged and to help learners to think visually about mathematics, which is the approach that Dr. Jo Boaler, author of Mathematical Mindsets , recommends most for improving math understanding.

source:  here is a link to the problem to print out:  http://bit.ly/2B6d420

Let's discuss what do you notice and wonder, FIRST about this problem and not just the solution.

### not clicking jus tanswering :)

I went straight to the picture and recognized "area model -- this times that equals that"  in their spaces, and wondered if that's obvious to students.   Thinking we would need some concrete examples first....

Then I looked at where I had both things to multiply, did that, and went from there.   I'm a part-whole learner...

### Scrooge

I'm going against my better instincts here since I tend to hate holiday-themed math problems (sorry for being a scrooge), but the area model puzzle is a cool idea. We explored something similar in a math teachers circle meeting a few months back. I agree that students would need some preparation before working on a puzzle like this, but I think looking at the area model for multiplication is time well spent.

And here's a way of writing area model puzzles (based on Benjamin Dickman's idea). Students can create their own puzzles and quiz each other.

Eric