Dear Tootsie Roll company
The students will measure the surface area and wrapper area of five pieces of candy. Using appropriate formulas and measuring techniques, they will complete information needed for a spreadsheet and database. Students wrap up the lesson by writing a letter to the company with the most wasted paper to explain how the waste affects them as consumers and a suggestion for correcting the problem.
A lesson plan for grades 7–8 English Language Arts and Mathematics
- Find the surface area of rectangular solids and cylinders by using appropriate measuring techniques and appropriate formulas to determine the surface area of five pieces of candy.
- Use geometric concepts to interpret and solve problems by using appropriate measuring techniques and appropriate formulas to determine the area of five wrappers.
- Determine how wasted paper would affect them as a consumer and generate possible solutions to the problem.
- Generate a spreadsheet from the data they collect and use a formula to calculate the amount of waste and the percent of paper wasted.
- Write a letter to persuade the company to improve their wrapping techniques and use an appropriate word processing program to produce a final product that will include a bar graph created from the spreadsheet.
- Bring in a different piece of candy and determine the surface area of the candy and the area of the wrapper. They will then place the class data into a database so that they can sort for specific queries.
Time required for lesson
- formula sheets similar to ones used on the competency test
- six pieces of candy for each student (Now and Later, Tootsie Roll, Hershey Kiss, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, chocolate bar, and sucker)
- millimeter ruler
- computer with printer
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Works
- Microsoft Excel
The students will need to have:
- practiced measuring with a millimeter ruler
- knowledge of appropriate formulas
- a basic understanding of word processing, database, and spreadsheet programs
- some marketing information relative to their real world experience
- The teacher will review the surface area and area formulas with the students.
- The teacher will distribute millimeter rulers and review how to read the rulers.
- The teacher will then distribute a Now and Later to each student in the class and ask that they make the necessary measurements so that they can determine the surface area of the piece of candy (using the formulas and calculators).
- The students will record this information in a chart format that they create.
- The students will then carefully unwrap the candy and make the necessary measurements to calculate the area of the wrapper.
- The teacher will then discuss the concept of wasted paper in the wrapping process and how this affects them as consumers.
- The students will then repeat the process with each of the five pieces of candy.
- After all of the data is completed the students will then enter it into Excel spreadsheet.
- The class will discuss the formula needed to calculate the amount of wasted material (wrapper area - surface area) and input the formula in the spreadsheet.
- The class will then discuss the amount of wasted paper. They will discuss that this may not be a true indication of the waste since some candy would have to use more paper than others do.
- The students will develop the formula needed to compute the percentage of paper wasted (waste/wrapper area).
- The students will then identify the company that wastes the greater percentage of paper in its wrapping process.
- The students will then write a letter to the company that has wasted the highest percentage of paper to tell how this affects them as a consumer and a possible solution to their problem. They will import a bar graph constructed from the data in the spreadsheet to use as documentation in their letter.
- They will use spell check and grammar check, and ask English students to help as peer tutors to produce the best possible written product.
- As a follow-up project, they will each bring in their own piece of candy. They will repeat the above steps for their candy and record the data in a database.
- They will use the database to answer the following questions:
- Does the size of the candy determine the percent of wasted paper (The smaller the candy the more waste?)?
- Order the candy from most wasteful to least wasteful.
- Which candy has the most wasted paper?
- Which candy company has the least wasted paper?
- Does the shape of the candy affect how much paper is wasted?
- Using the data order from amount of waste from least to greatest. How do these companies wrap their products to make the most efficient use of paper?
The students will have a completed letter using appropriate form, grammar, and spelling. The letter should use persuasive techniques to encourage the company to change their current practices. The letter will include an appropriately labeled bar graph that will be used as supportive data.
For the follow-up project the students will construct and print a database. They will correctly answer the questions. They will make inferences in writing about the use of paper needed to wrap the specific geometric shapes.
I completed this lesson with a class of 26 enhanced students. I needed this activity to motivate the students to see the necessity of knowing how to determine surface area of three dimensional figures. They wrote letters of explanation to the company to explain to them why it was important for them not to waste paper. They appreciated the power to express their opinion to the company.
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Computer Technology Skills (2005)
- Goal 1: The learner will understand important issues of a technology-based society and will exhibit ethical behavior in the use of computer and other technologies.
- Objective 1.09: Recognize, discuss, and investigate how spreadsheets are used in a variety of settings (e.g., schools, government, business, industry, transportation, communications). Strand - Spreadsheet
- Goal 2: The learner will demonstrate knowledge and skills in the use of computer and other technologies.
- Goal 3: Select and use a variety of technology tools to collect, analyze, and present information. Strand - Societal/Ethical Issues
- Objective 3.04: Create/modify spreadsheets to analyze and interpret information, test simple "what if..." statements, solve problems, and make decisions in content areas. Strand - Spreadsheet
- Goal 3: Geometry - The learner will understand and use properties and relationships in geometry.
- Goal 5: Algebra - The learner will understand and use linear relations and functions.
- Objective 5.03: Solve problems using linear equations and inequalities; justify symbolically and graphically.
- Common Core State Standards
- Mathematics (2010)
- 7.G.6Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, volume and surface area of two- and three-dimensional objects composed of triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, cubes, and right prisms.
- North Carolina Essential Standards
- Information and Technology Skills (2010)
- 7.TT.1 Use technology and other resources for assigned tasks. 7.TT.1.1 Use appropriate technology tools and other resources to access information. 7.TT.1.2 Use appropriate technology tools and other resources to organize information (e.g. graphic organizers,...
- Information and Technology Skills (2010)
- Mathematics (2010)