Ms. England has developed a lesson that connects the concept of slope to a real life situation. In particular, she presents her students with this predicament: Will the Aguilar family, out on a pleasant week-long hiking trip, run out of water? Is it possible to write a corresponding equation to determine the likelihood of this fate?

Let's look at the problem. The Aguilars start out with a seemingly adequate 40 gallons of water. After three days, they have 22.6 gallons left.

In the following three questions you are going to determine the equation that represents how much water the Aguilar family has in terms of the number of days they have been hiking. In this case, x will represent the number of days they have been hiking and y will represent how much water the Aguilar family has left after x days.

The links below contain the student handout for the problem:

View the first Hikers Beware video clip in which Ms. England describes three families separately setting out on a seven-day hiking trip. The families' main concern: will they (gulp) have enough water?

Classroom Clip Reflection:

  • What strategies does Ms. England use in introducing the problem to her students?
  • In what ways do these strategies make the problem more accessible to students? What other strategies might she have used?