Project details

Posted on April 4, 2017


… okay, the details — no, I don’t have a copy handy (and I didn’t write it).

First, this is one of I think half a dozen “projects.”   They’re “the  blue sheets.”   It’s a routine 🙂 (reason 1 why it works better than just “a big homework sheet”) Students know that projects take some time, and that it’s all “word problems”.. and some of ’em are very straightforward and others are more challenging.   (I should finagle myself a copy of the whole set of class materials.)

I don’t know whether it’s all “homework” or whether they get class time or group-work time with them.   I think they’d lend themselves to group work.

The scenario is a meal from a steak house.   They’re provided with the nutritional information, and that fats and carbs and protein have 9, 4, and 4 calories per gram (or something like that) respectively… and they compute the total calories from the meal.   They’re given a table to fill in, if I remember correctly — it’s not just “figure it out.”  I do know the visual organization is made easier on all these projects.     (another reason it works better than just a ‘big homework sheet’).  

Then:   if you ate this meal once a week, and these were “extra calories,” that you didn’t burn off, how many calories would your body be storing as fat?   (It comes out to a few hundred thousand, I think).   Given 3500 calories per pound, how many pounds would you gain?  (41, I believe…)

That’s page one.

Next page:   you’re going to burn this flab off.   Given that 3500 calories per pound… what if you trim N calories from your diet each day?   They’re told to use the answer to question 8 (another reason it works better than just a ‘big homework sheet’). HOw many weeks would it take you to burn off the flab?   We talk about what you’ve got to multiply or divide … and why.

I have a calendar on the wall, and for *many* students, the light goes on when I “put” the 100 calories on each day of the week… and not before. (visuals:   another reason it works better)

(It doesn’t always work — anxiety can be a wrecking ball.)  *All* the problems (I think four) have the same setup.   Finally, they’re asked if it would be reasonable, if usual diets are 1500-2000 calories/day, to trim 1500 or more calories from the diet.   Usually this gets a blank stare at first, and then we imagine what that would mean.  (I think I may make a little visual of a daily chart of what you’d eat for that many calories and then have ’em cross out what they’d have to give up… hmmm… that might be a good thing to have anyway…)

Next page!   Taking up running are we… which burns 100 calories per mile.   So, now we need to multiply by 100 and 7 and then divide the big ol’ calorie number by that.   Two or three scenarios, each increasing the mileage.

This page added a twist next — what if you wanted to lose those pounds in 3 months?   How many miles would you have to run each week?  So… we have to figure out … how many weeks there are in 3 months. (I’m pretty sure either 12 or 13 were acceptable, and depending on the student I’d build from “how many weeks in a month” and get the calendar down… or talk about the 52 weeks in a year and that 3/12 is 1/4 — most of ’em aren’t up for throwing fractions and ratios into the mix, though.)    HEre’s where I’d like to design another visual to *show* the weeks and the calories getting spread out evenly.   If they see it, it actually  makes sense.

Then… what about one month… and… erm, do you really think that’s a reasonable expectation?   Since it’s I think over 50 miles each week, most of ’em think not, but I usually mention that the teacher who’s created this thing could do it 🙂

Finally, the last set has the ambitious soul (“you”) doing both running and dieting.   It’s miles per day and calories trimmed per day… for the first 3.   The fourth says “22 miles per week” as well as some number of calories per day… so they have to adapt.

That set’s “open question at the end” is “what have you learned from this?”   and usually they have something to say.

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