Here’s my first foray into the Great Apartment Remodel of ’13 – inspired by Everybody is a Genius.

You’ve been thinking about redoing your apartment’s floors. Your cat threw up in all the carpeted rooms, your friend Sally spilled nail polish all over the bathroom, your friend Jean spilled hair dye in the other bathroom, and your science project burned a hole in the kitchen floor.

However, it’s your lucky day. You won a raffle for a ₤500 Homebase.co.uk gift card and your Grandma Sally has given you \$100 for your birthday.

What rooms will you choose to remodel? Why? Show your calculations for required flooring needed and how much it will cost. Assume 7% tax and ₤30 for shipping. Beware the unit conversion!

I also gave students the sample floor plan shown above as well as a printout of laminate flooring options from www.homebase.co.uk. I wanted to have actual samples like Sarah’s project, but also wanted to include the currency conversion for practicing financial math and meters to feet conversions, so I went with a British company. When students heard that we were going to be designing dream houses as a culminating assessment, a few clamored to build theirs, so we might do that!

After introducing the assignment to students, I asked them to work independently and figured out if there were any clarification questions they wanted to ask me. Sure enough, there were:

How many euros are in a dollar?
I clarified that the symbol was for a British pound and told them how to google “pounds to dollars” and gave them the conversion “1 British pound = \$1.60.”

How many centimeters are in an inch?
I picked up one of the class set of rulers and asked a student to read off the centimeters and inches, giving them “15 cm = 6 inches.”

Which rooms are carpeted?
Having lived in a house that had a carpeted bathroom, I gave the students the option to explain their own assumptions for carpeting.

How many cm^2 in one m^2?
We touched on this last year in unit conversions and SI units. I drew a square to represent 1 cm^2 on the board, labeling each side, then guided them to create a similar square that was one meter per side. Too many students think that 1 cm^2 = 100 m^2…but when they see it drawn out, they fix that error.

Many students also asked about the 2.13 sq. m pieces that were on sale on the website, and whether they could buy just one sq. m. They have to buy 2.13 sq. m units and cut them to specification (i.e., they can’t just buy part of a unit).

Non-sequitur reaction: “I don’t want a cat. Can I change it to a dog?”

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