The new largest Lego set ever – The Roman Colosseum

Image from

Note: This is a remake of our 2014 and 2017 activities "How Much Does a Lego Cost?".

How much could the Roman Colosseum Lego set cost ?

Student first make a guess and then think about what information would be useful in order to determine the actual cost.

Then they use a random sample of Lego products to help figure the cost of this massive kit. Students might take an average cost per block from the sample and proportionately extend that to the number of blocks in this kit.

Older students might make a scatter plot of the data and determine a line of best fit that models the cost of a kit for any number of bricks.  Students might use their model to find the cost or number of blocks in other kits.

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, football and giving (12 activities)

barbecued-smoked-turkeyHow should I cook my turkey? - Students judge timing, cost, tastiness, and quantity necessary as they plan for the feast. 4.MD.1, 5.NBT.7, 4.MD2, 6.RP.3, 6.NS.3, 7.NS.3  Great video on a deep frying fire with William Shatner.

Lots of Cranberries - (new) In this timely activity, students learn about how cranberries are grown and harvested; estimate their size and quantities; and see what they can deduce from published statistics. 5.MD, 6.RP, 6.SP, 7.G.B, 8.G

Not enough mashed potatoes - (updated) Use Brian's famous mashed potatoes recipe to practice changing decimals to fractions; calculating ingredient measure for various-sized Thanksgiving servings; have students explain their reasoning; and to have students figure out how many servings 7½ pounds of potatoes would make. 5.NF.6 , 5.NF.6 , 6.RP.1 , 6.RP.2 , 6. RP.3 , 7.RP.1

Black Friday


When shopping next Friday, students will be able to add some understanding and analysis to the trip after calculating savings in dollars and percents with this timely investigation.

Not enough mashed potatoes

We've updated this activity to be more appropriate for this year's strange Thanksgiving.Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes; Ina GartenUsing his famous mashed potato recipe, Brian has asked students

    • to change decimals to fractions,
    • to calculate ingredient measures for various-sized Thanksgiving servings,
    • to explain their thinking in calculating these figures
    • and to judge how many servings could be created from 7½ pounds of potatoes.

Lots of Cranberries

The harvest must be nearing completeion now and growers have sold their product to make cranberry juice, jelly, sauce, and of course, fresh berries in time for Thanksgiving.

In this timely activity, students learn about how they are grown and harvested; estimate their size and quantities; and see what they can deduce from published statistics.


Act One:  Take a look at the pic. What questions come to mind?

Just before Thanksgiving there are competitions all over the world to celebrate cool design, tricky engineering, and to donate a whole lot of food. At the end of the exhibit, all the creations are dismantled and the construction materials (thousands of cans of food) are given directly to soup kitchens, food banks, shelters and senior homes. Canstruction, Inc. now has events in over 200 cities worldwide.

Above is a picture of an exhibit called "Downside Up" which was the winning exhibit from Canstruction, 2010, in New York City.

Act Two:  How many cans does it take to build this structure?  What information do you need to determine this?  How did you determine your solution? What else did you notice that is mathematical?