## [3ACTS] Nissan Girl Scout Cookies

March 1st, 2016 by Dan Meyer

**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.

- Ask for questions.
- Ask for wrong answers.
- Ask for estimates.
- Ask for important information.
- Ask for estimates of the capacity of the trunk and the dimensions of the box of cookies.
- Show the answer.
- 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.

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

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**

[via whoever runs the Bismarck Schools’ Twitter account]

on 01 Mar 2016 at 12:38 pm1 Paul JorgensWe 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.

on 01 Mar 2016 at 1:42 pm2 Leslie GThis is awesome!

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!

https://twitter.com/Olympics/status/703267757786210304

on 01 Mar 2016 at 1:58 pm3 BrendanAnd the lesson tomorrow just happens to be review for volume and surface area quiz. Thank you.

on 01 Mar 2016 at 3:46 pm4 Andrew KGreat 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!

on 02 Mar 2016 at 8:04 am5 Dan MeyerPaul:Love it.

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

Andrew KMany, many apologies for our imperial units.

on 02 Mar 2016 at 9:48 am6 Pat CiulaDan, Every time you post one of these I feel HAPPY. I remain inspired to change work our students do. THANK YOU!

on 02 Mar 2016 at 9:05 pm7 Chester DrawsMy 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

thatproblem 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.

on 02 Mar 2016 at 10:28 pm8 Danny Whittaker@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!

on 03 Mar 2016 at 6:57 am9 GrahamLove 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.

on 03 Mar 2016 at 3:56 pm10 Chester DrawsSure 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.

on 04 Mar 2016 at 5:23 pm11 David PetroHow long did it take to shoot that video? Give answer you know is too small. Give an answer you know is too big.

on 06 Mar 2016 at 7:52 am12 Dan Meyer@

Andrew K, I re-edited the lesson to include metric units. Good call.on 08 Mar 2016 at 4:59 am13 Andrew BuschThat 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.

on 30 Mar 2016 at 7:28 am14 jessica l.HOW MANY BOXES R THERE???

on 31 Mar 2016 at 8:19 am15 jebhow many girl scout cookies are in the nissan rogue ?