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?

The Activity: Canstruction.pdf

CCSS: 4.MD.3, 6.EE.1, 5.MD.5, 7.G.6, HSF.LE.2, MP2, MP3, MP7

Act Three: 

  • We have a detailed solution and teacher tip page: Canstruction-solution.pdf and the Word docx if you would like to change the activity: Canstruction.docx
  • You can also find a different solution at the website that covered the event:  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.
  • Or let students continue their investigation with: Have a Heart.
  • Or let students choose any of the creations in our movie to analyze.


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