I chose to write about this problem because I love it! I love:
- the variety of possible solution methods: arithmetic, algebraic, pictorial, mathematical, and representational;
- the humor inherent in the problem;
- the potential fun for students and their joy in working it out;
- the gender switch on Farmer Montague;
- seeing the different ways students draw the chickens and goats;
- being surprised at who solves the problem and how;
- seeing the light come on in students’ eyes when they arrive at the solution.
This problem pushes students to think outside the box. It is non-discriminatory in that I can, have, and did give this and a similar problem to students learning at the most basic level and those taking the HSE exam in the same week.