How Thick Is a Soda Can II?

This How Thick Is a Soda Can II? activity & project also includes:

Science, technology, and math come together in this one combination exercise. Analyzing the common soda can from both a purely mathematical perspective and a scientific angle allows for a surprisingly sophisticated comparison of necessary assumptions along with sources and magnitude of error. An easily customized activity that could provide a quick warm-up or a multi-class experiment, depending on the information and directions given to the class.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Divide the class into two groups and lead each group to a different solution method. Follow the activity with a comparison and discussion of error
  • Use different beverage containers and the Archimedes' principle method to estimate the manufacturing material from density
Classroom Considerations

  • Last page is blank, if copying costs are a concern
  • Learners familiar with Archimedes' Principle will have a definite advantage in the second solution method, unless the whole class is brought up to speed together

  • Careful treatment of assumptions and lengthy discussion of sources of error
  • Multiple solution methods outlined

  • The story of Archimedes and the King's Crown is briefly mentioned, but then treated as familiar without  a resource link
  • Class assignment not separated from teaching notes and answer key
Common Core