Just before Thanksgiving there is an annual demonstration at the Winter Palace in the World Financial Center of New York City. Canstruction is a celebration of design, of engineering, and of donating time, talent and food to the hungry. At the end of the exhibit all the amazing creations are dismantled and thousands of cans of food are given to hungry people via soup kitchens, food banks, shelters and senior homes. Canstruction, Inc now has events in over 200 cities worldwide.
Here 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?
The Activity: Canstruction2015.pdf
CCSS: 4.MD.3, 6.EE.1, 5.MD.5, 7.G.6, HSF.LE.2, MP.2, MP.3, MP.7
- For members we have a detailed solution and teacher tip page: Canstruction2015-solution.pdf and the Word docx if you would like to change the activity: Canstruction2015.docx
- You can also find a different solution at the website that covered the event: http://www.glenwoodnyc.com/manhattan-living/canstruction-nyc-2010-at-the/. How they got their solution isn't explained and our count was different but there are some other lovely creations to view. It might be an interesting discussion as to why in the article above they came to a different solution.
SEQUEL: As an extension, consider asking students to estimate the number of cans in any of the exhibits shown in the movie that you can see here, Canstruction.m4v. Or try any of these extension questions from some of our fellow math educators on Twitter:
@Yummymath How many cans would it take to enclose the cube?
— Chris Robinson (@absvalteaching) August 13, 2015
@Yummymath What is the pressure on the lower cans? How many more layers could they hold? What real structures are based on same principal?
— Ignacio Mancera (@Ignacio_Mancera) August 13, 2015