## What Can You Do With This: Club Soda

What is the lesson plan? What will the students do? How will you supplement this photo? What is the best plan to provoke sustained, rigorous inquiry?

[BTW: the follow-up.]

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. More here.

1. #### Kate Nowak

July 22, 2009 - 12:56 pm -

I’m thinking, “Will the entire contents of the can fit?” But that’s just because I know tall/skinny containers are deceiving in how little they will hold. Not sure a kid would think to wonder that.

2. #### Terry Kaminski

July 22, 2009 - 3:35 pm -

Could you please explain how you placed the centimetre ruler into the pic? I would love to create similar pics for my math students when we study volume of objects such as cylinders, cones etc..

3. #### Terry Kaminski

July 22, 2009 - 3:38 pm -

I would give this pic to my students and ask them to develop 3 mathematical questions they would like answered about the pic. They would paste their questions into Etherpad so that as a whole class they could collaborate and see what everyone wants to know about the pic.

As a class, I would project the Etherpad doc onto our smartboard, we would eliminate duplicate questions and then their assignment for the remainder of the period and that night is to come up with answers to all of the class questions.

4. #### Jason Dyer

July 22, 2009 - 5:10 pm -

Josh, the caption mentions there are green marks (taped to the garage) 0.5 meters apart.

5. #### Dan Meyer

July 22, 2009 - 7:44 pm -

@Terry, I took another shot from the same camera position (fixed to a tripod, natch) with a ruler in it for reference. I built a simulated ruler on top of the actual ruler and pasted it on top of the club soda photo.

I reckon Kate has it closest. Whatever question slash activity you’re going for, it needs to begin with a simple question that relies heavily on intuition.

“Will the cup overflow?” Simple. Anybody can answer it and defend it from any angle on the basis of good intuition.

But: “How high will the soda go?”

Now we’ve taken WCYDWT into calculus.

6. #### Kate Nowak

July 23, 2009 - 4:09 am -

The kiddos and I have had some fun with this thing. It simulates pouring fluid from one container to another. You guess how high the fluid will rise in the new container. It has rectangular prisms, cylinders, rectangular pyramids, and cones.

7. #### Jason Dyer

July 23, 2009 - 8:16 am -

@Dan: Why does working out how high the soda goes require calculus? It seems like a straight (albeit tricky) geometry problem to me.

8. #### Dan Meyer

July 23, 2009 - 9:26 am -

Sure, do Geometry. This here is, what, a truncated cone? A frustum? I tend to think it’s an asset that the same (relatively) uncontrived problem can be solved in Geometry and Calculus but, regardless, do you see where this is going? How we’re (quickly) going to rule out Geometry? The bizarre, challenging territory this sort of problem will scale to while maintaining the same simplicity of the original question, “How high?”

NB. My calculus, apparently, sucks. I’d expect some error due to estimation, the thickness of the glass, etc., but my margin of error is on the order of 600%. Can someone check my work?

9. #### Alex

July 23, 2009 - 9:48 am -

Dan, you’re right that there’s a mistake and you’ll kick yourself. You actually forgot to integrate. Take a look – you expanded the bracket and accidently dropped the integral sign.

10. #### Dan Meyer

July 23, 2009 - 10:49 am -

Crud. Thanks. In a previous draft I just found the area under the curve, didn’t even use solids of revolution. I’m kind of insecure here. Years of teaching remedial algebra has basically put a knife to my higher math skills. Don’t tell anyone.

11. #### Sue

July 23, 2009 - 12:02 pm -

Don’t worry, they’ll come back. It’s like riding a bike, I think…

When I read “do you see where this is going? How we’re (quickly) going to rule out Geometry?” I first thought you meant this one couldn’t be solved without calculus. But considering the glasses you bought the other day, I now see that you mean there will be other how-high problems where we no longer have a cone.

Anyway, here’s me no-calc solution:
In your equation, y = 1/12 x +1.75, the x is the height and the y is the radius. It seemed easier to me to imagine the whole cone involved (go down or back to the point), so I found the x-intercept of this line, which is x= -21, and then said from there the radius is always 1/12 the height.

V=pi/3 * r^2*h. But r=1/12 h, so V = pi/432 * h^3.

But the bottom part can’t have liquid, so
V =354.88 =pi/432*h^3-pi/432*21^3.
Soling for h gives 37.5, and subtracting 21 to get back to the original problem gives 16.5cm, which is not to the top.

Does this count as geometry?

12. #### Northrup

July 23, 2009 - 12:17 pm -

Try and measure the depth of the disturbed water while pouring (meaning how deep is the water visually disrupted/no longer perfectly clear). The goal can be to predict what will happen with a larger experiment at the end of class that they won’t be able to recreate at their desk. To be accurate and scientific students would need to take a picture or freeze frame a video and measure the distance. They would vary the height the water is poured from, the angle of the can(which controls flow), and maybe the time to pour.

eh?

13. #### Jason Dyer

July 23, 2009 - 12:40 pm -

Getting the wacky curved glasses out would indeed make an interesting calculus problem, especially with the students figuring out an equation that matches the curve in the first place.

14. #### Tom McDougal

July 23, 2009 - 1:18 pm -

My wife used to drink a combo of club soda and cranberry juice, and a favorite glass of hers was roughly a cone, like the one in the picture. One day while mixing her this drink I wondered: If she wants half cranberry, half soda…

15. #### Dan Meyer

July 23, 2009 - 1:38 pm -