This task is by far one of the most impactful on my career as an educator, it helped me understand how long a task can have a lasting impact on a student and their understanding of content. I’ve also fumbled along the way and needed to improve and iterate this task several times, please take the time to edit as you see fit for your students and your classroom.
This task is useful for introducing the concept of elimination, but students do not need to know the elimination procedure to be successful. I have found that it is better for students not to know elimination. This task has many access points and offers students several opportunities to layer concepts from previous parts of the lesson. We encourage starting simple and building up, then after several iterations, helping students connect the work in the flag task back to the numeracy of the algebra we know in the traditional procedure. For this reason, we encourage teachers to have students record the different examples so both students and teachers can reference the examples when making connections to the algebra.Flag Task (website version)
This task can be debated to either be a level 3 or level 4 task. Students are developing a procedure for solving a system of equations using connections to a flag, however, initially, this procedure is not recommended (which would lead it to be a level 4 task). For each, there is often only one answer that students will reach (level 3), but the pathway to reach that, especially as is discovered in the fourth part of the task could be considered doing mathematics (level 4). Either way, it is a high cognitive demand task and is an excellent addition to any classroom. Comment below if you would like to contribute to the leveling conversation of this task.