[3ACTS] Nissan Girl Scout Cookies

Treatment #1

A small rectangular prism measures 7 inches x 2.3 inches x 4.6 inches. How many times could it fit in a larger rectangular prism with a volume of 39.3 cubic feet?

Treatment #2

Nissan is going to stuff the trunk of a Nissan Rogue full of boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Nissan lists the Rogue’s trunk space as 39.3 cubic feet. A box of cookies measures 7 inches x 2.3 inches x 4.6 inches. How many boxes will they fit in the trunk?

Treatment #3

Show this video.

  1. Ask for questions.
  2. Ask for wrong answers.
  3. Ask for estimates.
  4. Ask for important information.
  5. Ask for estimates of the capacity of the trunk and the dimensions of the box of cookies.
  6. Show the answer.
  7. Ask for reasons why our mathematical answer differs from the actual answer.

Hypothesis

Treatment #1 and Treatment #2 are as different from each other as Treatment #2 is from Treatment #3.

A layperson might claim that Treatment #2 has made Treatment #1 real world and relevant to student interests. But the real prize is Treatment #3, which doesn’t just add the world, but changes the work students do in that world, emphasizing formal and informal mathematisation.

“Real world” guarantees us very little if the work isn’t real also.

Design Notes

You can check out the original Act One and Act Three from Nissan.

I deleted this screen from Act One because I wanted students to think about the information that might be useful and to estimate that information. I can always add this information, but I can’t subtract it.

160301_2

I added a ticker to the end of the video because that’s my house style.

160301_1

I deleted a bunch of marketing copy because it was kind of corny and because it broke the flow of their awesome stop motion video.

I left the fine-print advisory that you should “never block your view while driving” because the youth are impressionable.

The Goods

Download the goods.

[via whoever runs the Bismarck Schools’ Twitter account]

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

16 Comments

  1. Paul Jorgens

    March 1, 2016 - 12:38 pm
    Reply

    We used the videos last Friday. Wish we had thought to remove the cubic feet. Thanks.

    We asked our staff for help collecting empty boxes. They are different sizes depending on cookie. Students measured as part of act 2 and had to work together in deciding how to handle the different size boxes in coming up with an answer to their question.

  2. Brendan

    March 1, 2016 - 1:58 pm
    Reply

    And the lesson tomorrow just happens to be review for volume and surface area quiz. Thank you.

  3. Andrew K

    March 1, 2016 - 3:46 pm
    Reply

    Great job. This might be my new go to illustration for colleagues when considering how to design tasks (and of how textbooks can suck the fun out of a question). Less helpful, as you say.

    The video edits are helpful for those of us using zany units of measurement too!

  4. Dan Meyer

    March 2, 2016 - 8:04 am
    Reply

    Paul:

    We asked our staff for help collecting empty boxes. They are different sizes depending on cookie. Students measured as part of act 2 and had to work together in deciding how to handle the different size boxes in coming up with an answer to their question.

    Love it.

    Leslie G:

    I saw this video the other day and immediately thought it would make a good 3 Act, but my skills with videos are non-existent!

    Free free to get in touch next time! Ask me to edit a video. Odds are good I’ll be game!

    Andrew K

    The video edits are helpful for those of us using zany units of measurement too!

    Many, many apologies for our imperial units.

  5. Pat Ciula

    March 2, 2016 - 9:48 am
    Reply

    Dan, Every time you post one of these I feel HAPPY. I remain inspired to change work our students do. THANK YOU!

  6. Chester Draws

    March 2, 2016 - 9:05 pm
    Reply

    My understanding of learning Maths* is that if we lead with Treatment 3 then we will have a classroom of students who will have learnt how many boxes will go in a Nissan Rogue, but who won’t learn from that how to estimate space in general.

    (*Page 62 of my copy of How People Learn, for example.)

    Contrast this with: “I want to ship 500 cookie boxes — will they fit in my car?” And doing it theoretically solves that problem much quicker than trying it out. And before we risk driving to pick them up and find they don’t.

    I’d posit that my version is at least as real, if not more so. It also puts the focus on the Maths, not on the car.

  7. Danny Whittaker

    March 2, 2016 - 10:28 pm
    Reply

    @Chester

    Interesting point. What if after they finished with the Rogue, we had followup questions with a variety of different pictures of trunks and asked how many would fit or which would hold at least 500 boxes? Definitely include a pickup as one of the pictures!

  8. Graham

    March 3, 2016 - 6:57 am
    Reply

    Love the simplicity of this task and the idea of it not being forced. Sure the context is nicely laid out, but the need to solve is natural.
    If we’re going to force the math experience we might as well opt for treatment 1.

  9. Chester Draws

    March 3, 2016 - 3:56 pm
    Reply

    Sure Danny. I like moving from the theoretical to the real. It’s the other way round that I have issues with, because it places the focus in the wrong place.

    Want to fill a Rogue with boxes? Put them in and see. Measuring would be no help at all, and so knowing the volume of the cookie boxes becomes an irrelevant detail rather than the focus.

  10. David Petro

    March 4, 2016 - 5:23 pm
    Reply

    How long did it take to shoot that video? Give answer you know is too small. Give an answer you know is too big.

  11. Andrew Busch

    March 8, 2016 - 4:59 am
    Reply

    That video made me grin this Tuesday morning. Thanks for sharing. I’ll give it a go next month when we talk about volume in Geometry.

  12. jessica l.

    March 30, 2016 - 7:28 am
    Reply

    HOW MANY BOXES R THERE???

  13. jeb

    March 31, 2016 - 8:19 am
    Reply

    how many girl scout cookies are in the nissan rogue ?

  14. Manoli

    June 5, 2016 - 8:22 pm
    Reply

    How many boxes will there be in the whole car of he cookies

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