Breaking into houses with Dan Meyer

Dan’s got another What Can You Do With This1 challenge up. This time it’s dealing with a numeric keypad. Basically, it’s what can you do (in a more lesson plan focused format this time) with an image he’s posted of a numeric door key pad2.

I’m not helping much with Dan’s lesson plan but I’d actually have the challenge be to break the combination. I’d take bets on how long it’d take to break into this door if it had a one digit code, a two digit code, a three digit code and a four digit code (maybe go higher?). I’d write down the bet times- maybe graph them.

Then I’d give them a chance to try it and I’d record the times when they did break in.

If people had computers this would be an easy thing to do. Here’s the Excel spreadsheet I’d use (not very pretty – just a proof of concept). I’d lock the one I gave the kids with a password of course. It’s pretty simple stuff. It amused me though. Might be garbage for math class but maybe someone will get some other use out of it.

Here’s a video if you’d like more explanation on the construction. It’s nothing fancy but it might inspire some other better ideas3.

Excel as a lock

1 I love this concept and find it one of the best ideas for staffdev I’ve ever seen. I’m going to attempt to steal it and use it as part of a class I’m teaching this summer on instructional technology.

2 It’s far more engaging than it sounds. Go check it out.

3 I actually built a self-checking crossword puzzle in Excel one time. I have no idea why.

Comments on this post

  1. Tom said on April 22, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Additional thought, and I didn’t want to send the whole post out again. You could easily set up the Excel sheet to indicate when they did get individual numbers correct. How would that impact their guess time? Bets?

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