Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Breakfast Maths or the cereal that never ends

A cereal lesson 

Here is an idea that will get you plaudits from those that like to see Maths in a context or ‘real life’ Maths. It will give a different pace to your lessons and engage those who prefer a kinesthetic learning style or experience. Yet again what you do depends upon your imagination and perhaps appetite.


Eat lots of cereal. Ban toast for breakfast and force, if you have to, your family to eat packets and packets of cereal. Keep the boxes. No recycling. You have to supervise the opening of the boxes as you want them to be in as good a condition as possible.

The Lesson

Organise the class into groups around tables, 4 to a table seems to work. As the proud owner of numerous cereal packets distribute one or more to each group. Ask the class what they could find out about the boxes, give them a minute or two to jot down some ideas then collect one from each table and record them on the board. It is now up you how you progress. Sometimes I have collected the ideas from the class, recorded them on the board, and then discussed what we have to find. Alternatively I have collected the ideas but also handed out a worksheet to some classes listing what needs to be found or what tasks they have to do. Here are some suggestions of what they have to do and record as a group.

Find the height, width and length of the box.

Find the volume of the box.

Draw a net of the box to scale.

Make an isometric drawing of the box.

Find the surface area.

How much does the it cost per gram? per 100g?

How many boxes could fill the classroom?

What is the ratio of sugar to salt? Does it fit in with Government guidelines?

If it takes 10 days to eat a box how much salt would I consume in a year?

Further ideas

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Extension ideas

Alternatively you could work on the suggestions gathered from the class. The outcome could be  report produced by each group or answers in their books from  prepared worksheet by you.

You could provide them with boxes of the same product but in different sizes which is the best value? I am sure you can think of other ideas. Happy eating. (By the way you have noticed a picture of porridge, I don't eat any other cereal these days, can't think why.)