I assigned a picture project to both my Accelerated Algebra 1 students and my college prep Algebra 1 students. Luckily, I learned from my accelerated students because I assigned the project to them first.
I instructed them to create a word problem for a system of equations with two unknowns or a rate = distance times time problem. I told them to take a picture of the things and turn it into a word problem then put it into one PowerPoint slide and share it with me. They did, and they came up with a great variety of questions. I then compiled them into one PowerPoint and shared it with the class on review day for them to work on (through www.edmodo.com ). However, I didn't ask them to include the answer, so I had to do all that work. Some students didn't include a question. They just sort of told a story. Some students made the problem so it didn't work out correctly. Those were the biggest problems.
By the time I was teaching it to my college prep level class, I had revised it a bit. They now had to include a second PowerPoint slide that had the work worked out and the answer. Ahhh, now they had to do the thinking, not just make up some numbers. There was less variety in this group; most of them dealt with food items. Some of them realized they could work backwards - make up the answer they wanted and then make the numbers or prices fit. Ahhh! Wow! A few of the kids liked the answer to come out to the same number for x and y. But, overall, they did a great job.
Here are the better instructions. I found the original idea on the web a while ago so I don't remember who to credit. But, now that I have my blog, I will always remember to note who I am borrowing the idea from and they will get due credit!
Instructions: Linear Systems Picture Project Instructions
Accelerated Student PowerPoint: Accelerated Students Picture Powerpoint
College Prep Student PowerPoint: College Prep Student Picture PowerPoint
My favorite part was catching a student smiling to himself. I asked him what was up and he said, "I hear someone working on my problem."