How big is Azeroth?- Who says word problems can’t be interesting?
To measure a square mile, you first need to define what a mile is. As “a mile” doesn’t even have the same length on different places on our earth, that isn’t trivial. The basic definition of a mile is coming from Roman times, defining a mile a 1000 double steps of a marching legion. The soldiers had to walk through all of Europe anyway, so you just needed to count their steps and had the place all measured up with few extra effort. Clever guys, these Romans. But on Azeroth “steps” aren’t that easy to count, and the length of legs between the different races varies widely. But interestingly all races move at the same running speed, so it makes sense to define the mile by the time it takes to run it. On earth, a marathon runner has a running speed of about 12 miles per hour. As everybody on Azeroth is a hero, lets just define the Azerothian running speed as 12 mph as well. This effectively defines an Azerothian mile as “the distance you can run in 5 minutes”, without using any speed enhancing items of course.
So this guy took the time and expended the effort to do this. Why? Because it interested him. It’s a fairly difficult word problem that the majority of the world (probably this guy as well) would balk at solving IF it didn’t have the hook of being about something he cared about. People do all sorts of difficult and unpleasant tasks if they are interested in what they are doing.
It’s worth searching this kind of thing out or more reasonably structuring your class so your kids can use their passions to learn your content. It’d be fun to take the usual begining of school information and have them add what they really are interested in be it video games or whatever and then use that throughout the year.
You could do odd, but interesting, things to personalize the skills you want them to learn like-
- Grammar- Give me a sentence with a linking verb, one of our vocabulary words and a gerund that describes your avatar in second life (I’m just making up the grammar stuff as I know nothing of real grammar).
- Math- How many seconds have you played WoW in the last week? At that rate how many days would you have to play in order to spend a week playing WoW?
- History- If Michael, from the show The Office, had been in charge of the Communist party instead of Stalin what would have been different? Would Michael have created the same sort of oppressive regime? Be sure to compare and contrast in detail.
- Physics- Sonic the Hedgehog (I’m showing my age) weighs 77lbs (it’s true look it up). He has to make it over a chasm 200ft wide. How fast would he need to be traveling if he is rolling as a ball up an incline of 23 degrees?
I just threw these together but it could be a lot of fun and what would be more fun, and a lot easier for the teacher, is if the kids started writing their own to challenge one another. It could always be set as an extra credit assignment and then worked into the class when good things happened.