Really Big Lights – A math problem

Here’s a really big problem you can work on with your students this holiday season.

Act 1:
Show them this video and ask: What do you notice? What do you wonder?

After allowing them to voice their noticing and wonderings guide them to wonder: How big is that new light? How many times bigger is the big light compared to the old light? How many Really Big Lights would you have to put up to cover the same length as last year?

Act 2: Here are some images to help make some conclusions:

Guess: How long is the big light? How many times longer is the big light than the small light?




Guess: How many small lights are in one string that stretches 15 feet?




Work together to determine how many Really Big Lights would replace the string of 50 lights? What assumptions will you make?

Act 3: Reveal


Why might your calculated answer be different from the answer shown?

If you had 50 Really Big lights how long would could they reach? How many cars could you put in that garage?

Grab all files for this activity

You can see more info about the lights over at

Using the Internet to create Proportion Problems

We used this image today to create our own proportion problems. Shown here is how much data is generated at each company after 1 minute. I took the screen shot from this site

Here was my example of a proportion problem: “If there are 48818 apps downloaded in a minute from Apple, how many in one day?”

My students then designed their own problems to solve……..we then wrote them on the board and everyone picked some to solve….here are a couple:

My kids were engaged and wanted to solve each others problems ……just to see how crazy the data was. We then voted on which piece of data was the most shocking! That gave us a purpose for the practice!!! The consensus was how many Netflix hours were watched each minute!!!!