How Many Milkshakes?

If any of you have ever been to Calgary, Alberta, you probably have heard of Peters’ Drive-In. Whenever I go ‘home’ to visit my parents I usually take my family for a treat there. They have amazing hamburgers and super milkshakes! They also only accept cash … hmmm.

Since I am naturally drawn to math all around us I began wondering whether the comment which appears on their cups and on their menu is correct. For clarification, I believe that the choice of the word ‘Flavours‘ on the cups is incorrect. I think it should say ‘Combinations’ just as it does on the menu board.

I think many of our students might wonder the same thing. For this reason I am sharing it as a possible #anyqs and I’m trying to keep it simple 🙂 You could easily open up many more problems by looking at the full menu and prices that appear in the photo above. I think students will really eat this up!

As I work through an activity that I thought was going to be simple and straightforward now I’m not so sure. I’m not certain of the sequence of photos to be presented. Should we present the photo of the milkshake cup first and have students figure out how this is possible or show them the photo of the menu board? What I think might be better is to present the menu board without the phrase “Over 4,500 combinations“.

Having followed many Twitter conversations about #anyqs and WCYDWT I think it was agreed that we would try not to simply add a coloured box to photos to cover up the desired answer(s). Students very quickly zoom in to this hidden information and won’t reflect about the questions they want to ask. Instead, they would look for the coloured box, and then use that to form their questions. For this reason I simply edited the answers out. Here are some photos we could use:

Then we could show them the original photos for the answers. Will their calculations be correct? How did the students do? Was that shocking? What strategy did you use? Is this false advertising?

If you’d like to see these photos all in one place you can access them here.

What do you think would be the most engaging for students? As Dan Meyer would describe it, what would be ACT 1, ACT 2 and ACT 3?

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About ccampbel14

I am a junior high math teacher at an Edmonton K-9 school. I am always looking for innovative and creative ways to teach mathematics so that I can reach every learner so they can be as successful as they possibly can be.
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