Looking back, this lesson was a success because I had several problems that gradually became more challenging and varied in structure.
By having multiple problems, students were be able to work at their own pace and ability levels. If I only had one problem for students to solve, my students who were early finishers would have become bored and under-challenged. My students who needed extra processing time would have felt rushed to finish.
By developing problems that slowly required higher level math skills, I was able to build a gradual staircase of complexity to support the progression of learning. When solving the first problem, students needed to recognize that a 16 ounce package of butter is equal to one pound before solving. The next problem was a little harder, requiring students to convert 48 ounces to 3 pounds. Students had to find how many 6 oz. cartons of raspberries they would need to purchase two pounds. Students developed the skills needed to solve the more difficult problems by solving the easier problems at the beginning. If I had given students the hardest problem to begin with, they truly would have struggled.
The structure of each problem changed. Sometimes, the students were asked to find the cost. Other times students were asked to find the number of pounds. With each problem, students continually had to make sense of the problem (Math Practice 1) and decide what information was needed (such as the number of ounces) and not needed (such as the cost).