The following video shows how a group of fifth graders work on a realistic problem related to time differences. The problem is adopted from PISA 2006 questions.
What is interesting?
If you listen critically to the conversations, you will find how this problem could engage students in thinking. Solving this problem, the students seems to first imagine themselves involved in the problem. They unintentionally positioned themselves to think of consequences, related to the situation, given in the problem.
This guides them to think of the way to the solution of this problem. Furthermore, they sometimes put some additional information which might not include in the problem due to their life experiences.
I imagine if our teachers could serve such problems in any topic of math we learn, there would be no what people call “math-anxious”.