## [3ACTS] Nana’s Paint Mixup

February 20th, 2014 by Dan Meyer

Nana’s back.

I messed up her chocolate milk order a few years back. This is a new ratio task I first heard from Colin Foster at the Shell Centre last winter.

Here’s the download link, which includes the third act.

**Featured Tweet**

Love all the strategies my Ss used with Nana's Paint Mixup from @ddmeyer. pic.twitter.com/HmCWOuAvyd

— Kate Fisher (@_K8Fisher) February 20, 2014

**Featured Comments**

Don:

I dunno, this one made me wish the follow-up showed him just throwing the paint away and starting over. There’s just not enough investment in materials & time to make me think past. Plus if 6 tablespoons was enough paint to do the job then 30 is just a waste of paint far in excess of throwing away 6.

@Don, what if he had used up all the white paint after putting in the 5 scoops of white? Then he’d have to figure out how to do it by just adding more red.

**2014 Mar 11**. Great extension for Algebra students from Paul in the comments:

I used the task to set up this question in an Algebra class.

The students were very puzzled when their intuition about the solution did not match arithmetic or a demonstration with cubes.

“I have two cans of pink paint variations in the following ratios. Neither is perfect.

Nana’s Pink 5 Reds : 1 White

50/50 Pink 1 Red : 1 WhiteI think that a perfect pink will be 3 Reds : 1 White

Can I make it by mixing Nana Pink and 50/50 Pink?”

Students expected the solution to be one cup of each. How wonderful the sound of a perplexed group of students when their arithmetic did not match their intuition.

Sense making ensued for many minutes with pictures, cups with cubes and more arithmetic.

on 20 Feb 2014 at 1:34 pm1 AlexThis is admirably devious. Anyone who downloads the link to see the answer is proving the power of your hook.

If we can’t resist, how will the students?

on 20 Feb 2014 at 3:04 pm2 DonI dunno, this one made me wish the follow-up showed him just throwing the paint away and starting over. There’s just not enough investment in materials & time to make me think past. Plus if 6 tablespoons was enough paint to do the job then 30 is just a waste of paint far in excess of throwing away 6.

Which if the class brings it up organically would be a big win; then you can talk about why to choose one path or the other and it’s some good critical thinking. Otherwise it smells like pseudocontext to me.

on 20 Feb 2014 at 5:31 pm3 DannyI agree with Don here. Would make me ecstatic if while doing this question someone went for the easy answer and to see where the discussion led.

To cover the argument I’d just say something like this is only a sample of what we are going to do, will need much more paint than this eventually. But I would definitely discuss the option of throwing it out.

If no student brought up throwing it out on their own, I would probably try to push them toward it. Often we make a mistake and rather than starting over we try to fix the mistake and this causes bigger problems in the end. Being willing to start over can be a great asset in life.

on 21 Feb 2014 at 10:45 am4 Kevin Hall@Don, what if he had used up all the white paint after putting in the 5 scoops of white? Then he’d have to figure out how to do it by just adding more red.

on 21 Feb 2014 at 1:23 pm5 JillBrill! I’ve just done some paint ratio problems with my students, including an ‘Oops! I mixed it up wrong’ problem. We also looked at the Pantone website…check out the colours of the year and of the day. Since the printer, Smartboard and computer screen showed three different versions of the Colour of the Year, it all led to a discussion of how we can be sure we are getting the colour that we really mean or want. The t-shirts for their up-coming school trip turned out pink instead of the expected lilac. I also suggested that they have a look at Jasper Fforde’s book, ‘Shades of Grey’, (no, not ’50 Shades of Grey’!), where a post-apocalyptic population can only see certain parts of the colour spectrum and this determines their role in society. I love it when Maths turns into a bigger lesson!

on 28 Feb 2014 at 9:33 am6 David PetroHave you been watching Sherlock? The texting reminded me of that.

on 28 Feb 2014 at 10:45 am7 Dan MeyerYou got me!

on 02 Mar 2014 at 9:58 am8 Shaun ErrichielloThis is great. I am introducing this 3act and want to connect it into my linear functions unit. I am thinking something about slope representing the ratio of each color in the mixture.

I am trying to make an animated graph (something like ditch diggers) and was hoping someone could share a general approach to using adobe software in making a line graph. Should I do all the work in After Effects? Or should I make the graph in another program like Illustrator.

on 03 Mar 2014 at 9:13 am9 Dan MeyerHi

Shaun, here are some basics. You use the pen tool up on the top of the screen to draw the graph. Make sure its “stroke” is set to the right color and the line thickness.Now you have your entire graph, which isn’t super helpful. You want to animate it. So you expand the shape layer (click on the right arrow) and click on the tiny right arrow that’s revealed. You’re looking for Add Trim. Open up that property and you’ll see Start 0% and End 100%. Play with the end percentage and you’ll see the line erase and then redraw.

You want to set “keyframes” for 0% and 100%. AE will fill in the rest.

I’m happy to expand on any of this with screenshots or whatever.

on 10 Mar 2014 at 4:08 pm10 Shaun ErrichielloI adapted this 3 act for our 8th/9th grade unit on Linear functions. The idea was to think of correlation and slope as a mixing of color. So many awesome things happened in these lessons (I will post about it someday) but I wanted to share a Geogebra applet that shows how the change in mixture changes the color of the paint. The kids loved seeing the connection between slope and color.

The first applet was designed to be a low inference visual:

http://www.geogebratube.org/student/m94597

The second is a bit more detailed:

http://www.geogebratube.org/student/m94599

I used these during the third act (after we show the video).

Also thanks for the tips on AE. I am slowly learning how to put all the pieces together.

on 11 Mar 2014 at 2:32 pm11 PaulI used the task to set up this question in an Algebra class.

The students were very puzzled when their intuition about the solution did not match arithmetic or a demonstration with cubes.

“I have two cans of pink paint variations in the following ratios. Neither is perfect.

Nana’s Pink 5 Reds : 1 White

50/50 Pink 1 Red : 1 White

I think that a perfect pink will be 3 Reds : 1 White

Can I make it by mixing Nana Pink and 50/50 Pink?”

Students expected the solution to be one cup of each. How wonderful the sound of a perplexed group of students when their arithmetic did not match their intuition.

Sense making ensued for many minutes with pictures, cups with cubes and more arithmetic.

on 11 Mar 2014 at 4:56 pm12 Dan MeyerMan. Nice extension. “One cup of each” is

suchan enticing answer.on 11 Mar 2014 at 4:58 pm13 Dan MeyerHit ‘em with Coke v Sprite now. That one

stillmesses me up.on 12 Apr 2014 at 4:07 pm14 Simon BiggsHeya Dan,

Thanks for all your 3 Act maths. During my teaching prac I tried out your “Basketball hoop” lesson combined with Geogebra.

Wanted to let you know that I love putting your stuff up on teaching resources reddit:

http://www.reddit.com/r/teachingresources

Thank you for not just helping me, but many many other teachers :).

Cheers,

Simon

on 15 Nov 2014 at 12:47 pm15 What Makes an Engaging Task? | Math Teacher in Training[…] task I can almost always count on to be engaging in my classes is Nana’s Paint Mix-up from Dan Meyer. It is interesting to me how students will debate and converge naturally on a […]