Styrofoam Cups

Tuesday, I was on my way to BTSA and my subconscious screamed something at me. Find Dan Meyer's Stacking Cup lesson. Seriously, go read his post right now. I hadn't read this post for over a year now and I had to get my lessons ready for the next couple of days as my Algebra classes finished up Pixel Pattern. I was on the road dreading the idea of sitting through a couple hours of BTSA, so I asked Dan if he had the link to his lesson since it wasn't in my bookmarks (that was silly of me) and he came through like a champ! Seriously, check out his post. I'm promoting his blog post more than anything further I have to say here.

First, by all means, spend about $10 and do the lesson with your kiddos. This is one of those 3 Act lessons that just screams "hands-on" activity with your kids. It's tough to capture the overall excitement and energy with a video. If you can't do the "hands on" with your kids or you want to be environmentally friendly, here's my version of the Styrofoam Cup 3 Act lesson: a cheap backup.

It felt most natural to stage this so the cups stacked to the top of the door frame. Even then, I'm not convinced my Act 1 screams the question I'm looking for, "How many cups will stack to the top of the door frame?"

Enough about me and the video, to my classroom with the students. Dan's got a great script for you to follow, so do it! One of my classes was actually able to finish writing their rules before the bell on Friday so we had time to actually stack cups. Check out their rules and predictions for stacking cups to my height.

We started stacking with the lowest number and went from there. The kids went bonkers. Each group thought they were the best, but knew that they all couldn't be correct. When we revisit the lesson this next week, we'll be discussing where groups went wrong in order to learn from those mistakes. Watch Styrofoam Cups - Act 3 Stadel to find out who won. But I recommend you watch the door task also.

Styrofoamed out,