Last week I posted this on twitter after I attended the Math In Action Conference at Grand Valley State University:
However, I couldn’t post the assignment online right away as I hadn’t given it out to my students at that point. Now I can. Although I had lots of student questions about the assignment (more than I do a ‘normal’ assignment), I could tell that this problem had the students think outside of the box more than they would have had I not given them this assignment at all.
I tried to manage the student questions by starting a discussion thread on CANVAS and I jumped in at what I thought were appropriate times during the discussion. For the most part, though, what I saw were students helping each other and confirming that they were all thinking along the same lines as they were working to complete the project.
I really liked this project and I would definitely assign this again. I was even tempted to have the students find the population numbers on their own, but the problem is that Wikipedia, Wolfram|Alpha, and other sources were not all matching in there definition of a ‘village’ and of the actual population (some sources are using 2010 Census data and some even earlier). Thus, giving the population numbers was definitely for my own sanity.