Math Sample Grade 6
Marshmallow Peeps All In a Row
Marshmallow Peeps come 10 in a package. Each peep is 5.2 centimeters long.
How long will 1 package of peeps be if each peep is lined up in a row with 1.6 centimeters between them? How long would 2 packages of peeps be if each peep is lined up in a row with 1.6 centimeters between them? How long would 3 packages of peeps be if each peep is lined up in a row with 1.6 centimeters between them? How long will 75 peeps be if they are lined up in a row with 1.6 centimeters between them?
Can you write a rule to determine how long any number of peeps would be lined up in a row with 1.6 centimeters between them?
Show all your work. Make a math representation and use as much math language as you can.
Context
This task was originally written for students in grades K2 as seen below. I was curious to see how sixth graders would handle a similar problem.
Marshmallow Peeps come 10 in a package.
Each peep is 2 inches long.
How long will 1 package of peeps be if they are lined up in a row with 1/2 inch between them?
This K2 task and examples of student work at each of the 4 levels can be found in the Best of Math Exemplars CDROM © 1997.
What This Task Accomplishes
This task allows the teacher to assess the degree to which students can manipulate decimals, as well as use pattern and function concepts to achieve a general rule for solving for any number of peeps. The task can be solved concretely as well as abstractly, making it easily accessible to all students.
Time Required for Task
One 45 minute class period.
Interdisciplinary Links
This task could link to other Easter activities you have going on in your classroom, or the items in the task could be adapted to fit another theme you are studying. For instance, if you were studying trees, you could write a similar task substituting maple leaves for peeps.
Teaching Tips
This task can be made less complicated by using the 35 version stated above. Students with algebra experience can apply their skills to create a formula for solving the task. My students were told that when they handed the task in, they could have a marshmallow peep which motivated them all to turn the task in on time!
Suggested Materials
Manipulatives that can serve as peeps, rulers, calculators and peeps to eat!
Possible Solutions
1 PACKAGE
10 peeps x 5.2 cm = 52 centimeters.
Spaces in between 9 spaces x 1.6 centimeters = 14.4 centimeters
Total = 66.4 centimeters
2 PACKAGES
20 peeps x 5.2 cm = 104 centimeters.
Spaces in between 19 spaces x 1.6 centimeters = 30.4 centimeters
Total = 134.4 centimeters
3 PACKAGES
30 peeps x 5.2 cm = 156 centimeters.
Spaces in between 19 spaces x 1.6 centimeters = 46.4 centimeters
Total = 202.4 centimeters
75 PEEPS
75 peeps x 5.2 = 390 centimeters
74 spaces x 1.6 centimeters = 118.4 centimeters
Total = 508.4 centimeters or 50.84 meters
ANY NUMBER OF PEEPS
N = Number of Peeps
5.2N + [(N1)(1.6)
Task Specific Rubric/Benchmark Descriptors
Click on a level for student example. 


Novice  The Novice will show little or no understanding of the problem. Work will be unclear and the student may confuse metric and standard units of measure. The Novice will use little or no math language, and the solution will lack correct reasoning. 
Apprentice 
The Apprentice will attempt both parts of the problem, the length of the peeps and the length of the spaces between them. However, the correct answer will not be achieved for a variety of reasons, such as:

Practitioner  The Practitioner will understand that the lengths of the peeps and distances between them need to be added. The solution will be correctly calculated by doing this and by using the drawings of the problem. Correct math language will be used and drawings will be labeled. The Practitioner will write the steps used as a "rule" for solving the task. The reader will be able to follow the student's correct reasoning. 
Expert  The Expert will fully understand the problem by representing it visually and by accurately calculating the solution efficiently. The approach and reasoning will be presented clearly, and the student will be able to write a rule for solving the task. The Expert will explain the reasoning behind the rule. 