I teach at a high school in SLC, Utah. My class is very diverse in that we have multiple languages in the class, English is not the native language of 95% of my students, I have pretty close to 50/50 boy, girl ratio and the class is a good representation of students from the entire school ranging from grades 9-12. Our class period is 90 minutes every other day.
Things to reflect on:
I had a substitute cover the first part of this lesson and it really takes some reading and planning to carry it out correctly.
When I teach this again, I plan on really hitting the problem solving process hard - giving teams names and having each person be one of the pieces of the process so they can be more engaged with it. I will probably have them switch their role for each set of tasks.
The birthday party activity, I think would work nice with a laminated sheet of paper or in protective sleeves so students can easily move the students around.
The trip maker idea was fun, however, many of my students have not taken a trip outside of our state, so they don't know what all to consider. Next year, I will have some activities to do in state that are fun and really help students see the connecting pieces of just planning where to go, stay, food, entertainment, etc.
I feel like my students did gain a better applied understanding of the problem solving process with the trip activity and we were able to have some great rich discussions around the planning, actual travel, taking time off, food, etc.