Holiday soda displays

The holidays are coming! We found these timely soda displays made up entirely of 12-pack of Coca-Cola products. What questions do you have?

Clicking on either image will show them larger in their own windows.

Start out the activity by giving kids 30 seconds to look at the picture and have them take a quick guess: How many twelve packs of soda make up the Santa or the Menorah?

Guess without calculating.

Come up with a reasonable range for the number of twelve packs.

Find numbers that are too high and too low.

Students in 3rd and 4th grade can focus on the picture in terms of area or arrays.

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.