The use of historical problems in the middle school has many advantages. The dissonance created by such problems challenges the student to focus more carefully on the critical variables. These variables may be hidden in an unfamiliar context, in a language that seems different, or in a cultural setting unlike their own. Once the students have identified the critical variables they can then bring to bear their mathematical skills.
The problems that follow can be solved using the arithmetic and algebra skills typically learned in the middle school.