Skip navigation

Standards-based assessment and Instruction

Spanish Math 6-8

 

 

Dog Years Dilemma

Trina was playing with her new puppy last night. She began to think about what she had read in a book about dogs. It said that for every year a dog lives it actually is the same as 7 human years. She looked at her 4-1/2 month-old puppy and wondered how many human years old her puppy was?

Using as much math language and good reasoning as you can, figure out how many human years old Trina's puppy is?

Suggested Grade Span

Grades 6-8

Alternative Versions of the Task

More Accessible Version:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trina was playing with her puppy last night. She began to think about what she had read in a book about dogs. It said that for every year a dog lives it actually is the same as 7 human years. She looked at her 4-year-old puppy and wondered how many human years old her puppy was?

Using as much math language and good reasoning as you can, figure out how many human years old Trina's puppy is?

More Challenging Version:

 

 

Trina was playing with her new puppy last night. She began to think about what she had read in a book about dogs. It said that for every year a dog lives it actually is the same as 7 human years. She liked at her 4-1/2 month-old puppy and wondered how many human years old her puppy was?

Using as much math language and good reasoning as you can, figure out how many human years old Trina's puppy is?

Newer research has found that the simple formula of multiplying a dog’s age by 7 to get its human age equivalent may not be that simple. Scientists have concluded that the weight of a pet is also a factor that needs to be considered when calculating the age. Analyze the chart below to write formulas for determining a dog’s human age equivalent for each of the 4 weight categories.

Pet's age
0-20 Lbs 21 – 50 lbs 51-90 lbs Greater than 90 lbs
5 36 37 40 42
6 40 42 45 49
7 44 47 50 56
8 48 52 55 63
9 52 57 60 70
10 56 62 65 77
11 60 67 70 84
12 64 72 75 91
13 68 77 80 98
14 72 82 85 105
15 76 87 90  
16 80 92 95  
17 84 97 100  
18 88 102 105  
19 92 107 110  
20 96 112 115  

Context

Trina, one of my sixth-grade students, called me one night all excited because she knew she had a math "dilemma" for the class. I was pleased that she recognized that a fair amount of mathematics was necessary to solve this problem and that it would be challenging for the class to solve. I actually was surprised at how difficult the problem was for my students. We were working on adding and subtracting fractions, so this problem dealing with fractions was quite timely. My students had enough mathematics to solve the problem, but used many different strategies because it was a problem that they had never encountered before.

What This Task Accomplishes

At first, the task reads fairly simple. However, many students could not think of a way to get started, so this task makes students persevere. It also makes them try different approaches as they begin sorting out the problem. It makes many students begin converting fractions to decimals, so they can work with a calculator.

What Students Will Do

Some students wanted to figure out the equivalent in dog age of one human day. They knew that months had different days, but they figured they would be very close. Some that got really frustrated rounded 4-1/2 months to 6 months and found that to be 3-1/2 years-old in dog age. This was reasonable, but I encouraged them to get a more accurate answer. Because we do a lot of problem solving with charts, some kids made a chart and found that very successful for this problem, although it might not have been as successful with other fractional parts of a year.

Time Required for Task

Approximately 60 minutes. It took 45 minutes to solve the problem and another 15 minutes to pull their answers together and report.

Interdisciplinary Links

This problem can lead very nicely to a discussion on different life spans and conjectures about why some animals live longer than others.

Teaching Tips

I let my students work in pairs to solve this problem. You might ask your students to think about how graphing could lead them to a solution.

NCTM Standards

  • Numbers and Operations
  • Geometry and Measurement

Concepts to be Assessed and Skills to be Developed

  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Fractions/Decimals
  • Functions
  • Time/Scheduling
  • Ratios
  • Computation with decimals
  • Relationships

Suggested Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Calculators

Possible Solutions

Orignal Version:

(4.5 months/12) x 7 years = 31.5/12 years = 2.625 years = 2 5/8 years

More Accessible Version:

7 x 4 = 28 years old

More Challenging Version:

x = Dog years  y = Human years

0-20 lbs: 4x + 16 = y

21-50 lbs: 5x + 17 = y

51-90 lbs: 5x = 15 = y

Greater than 90 lbs: 7x + 7= y

Task-Specific Assessment Notes

Task Specific Rubric/Benchmark Descriptors
Click on a level for student example.
Novice This student has set up the facts that s/he knows about the calendar and is trying different algorithms to solve the problem with little or no reasoning. There is no evidence of a strategy and no explanation of the reasons for the algorithms tried. There is no mathematical representation.
Apprentice This student uses a strategy that would work, but uses faulty reasoning in changing a decimal fraction of a year to months. S/he correctly divides to find the dog age equivalent to one human month. However, s/he incorrectly assumes that .6 of a year is six months. The rest of the solution is based on that faulty reasoning.
Practitioner This student's strategy shows s/he has an understanding of the problem and the major concepts necessary for a solution. Their chart shows equivalent dog years for fractions of human years. This strategy of taking half of each human year leads to a solution of this problem (it may not have gotten a solution to other age puppies). There is effective mathematical reasoning. The student sees that halving the human age would also halve the dog years. The explanation is clear and the chart is appropriate use of mathematical representation. The student also uses correct mathematical notation.
Expert This student shows a deep understanding of the problem including the ability to identify the appropriate mathematical concepts. This student realizes that no matter how old the dog is, you need to multiply the age by seven. S/he realizes that the age of the dog is 4.5/12 of a year. Since s/he is unfamiliar with multiplying fractions, s/he used his/her knowledge of the fraction line as division and found the decimal equivalent of 4.5/12. This is a very efficient and sophisticated strategy that employs refined and complex reasoning. There is a clear and effective explanation and the student reached for a generalization that would solve any month old dog. The graph also actively communicates how to estimate the dog age of any living dog.

Back to top

Our teacher-friendly tasks are designed to support both the Common Core and Citywide instructional expectations. GO Math! alignments are also available.
Set up your FREE 30-day Trial today!

Explore our latest K-5 math material and begin using it in your classroom.
Set up your FREE 30-day Trial today!

Here's What People Are Saying

The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union (SVSU) in Bennington was trying to help its local community gain a better understanding of what students need to demonstrate in order to be successful on their math assessments. One of the most difficult sections of the exam is problem solving. Here, students are not only expected to determine the correct strategy, but also to explain their answers in writing, using math language and representation. For four years SVSU has used Exemplars as a curriculum tool in teaching its students how to solve these types of problems...

Steve Cleveland

Information Technology Coordinator

Exemplars | 271 Poker Hill Road | Underhill, Vermont 05489 | ph: 800-450-4050 | fax: 802-899-4825 | infoREMOVETHISBEFORESENDING@exemplars.com

Copyright © 2010–2016 Exemplars. All Rights Reserved.