It’s a Wrap: Maximizing Ice Cream Cones

Katie Powers

Unit Title:
It's A Wrap: Maximizing Ice Cream Cones



It's a Wrap

It's A Wrap: Maximizing Ice Cream Cones

Total Estimate Duration:
8 - 48 Minute Periods

Unit Lessons:
Lesson 1: Cones & Calculations to the Max
Lesson 2: Wrapping Up the Cones

Background Knowledge:

Students need to have background knowledge on:

  • Converting units of measure
  • Using a compass and ruler to measure to the nearest centimeter
  • Making use of math terms, including Radius, Circumference, Area, and Volume
  • Using algebra to solve an equation for a given variable.

Additional Resources:

May 2013

The Big Idea (global relevance)

Improving cafeteria menu options will have a positive impact on student experience in the cafeteria and have a positive impact on their social interactions.  Students will work collaboratively to design ice cream cones that have a 6 ounce capacity and maximize the use of the ice cream cone.

Essential Questions
  1. How could we improve the social climate of our cafeteria?
The Challenge

Maximize the ice cream cone so that 6 ounces of ice cream will fit into the cone, while using the least amount of cone-wrapper material.

The Hook

Our school has a problem with the social interactions between students.  The school cafeteria is a microcosm of the social climate of the school.  Let’s start there!

Guiding Questions
  1. How many cubic centimeters are in one ounce?
  2. How do you find the Surface Area/Volume of a cone?
  3. If the radius was 1 cm, 2 cm, 3 cm, etc. how tall would the height be?
  4. How do you calculate the curved surface area using those values?
  5. Could you use a spreadsheet to do the repeated calculation more efficiently?
ACS (Real world applications; career connections; societal impact)

Designing ice cream cone wrappers pertains to improving the food options in the cafeteria.  Students who previously looked forward to building a new high school in the near future look to make smaller positive improvements to their high school. By adding ice cream to the lunchroom experience, students can enjoy the benefits of a delicious treat and know that they do have a voice.

Unit Academic Standards

High School Geometry Standards

Domain: Geometric Measurement and Dimension G.GMD

  • Cluster: Visualize relationships between 2-d and 3-d objects (G.GMD.4)
  • Cluster: Use volume formulas for cylinders, pyramids, cones, and spheres to solve problems (G.GMD.A.3)

Domain: Modeling with Geometry G.MG

  • Cluster: Apply geometric concepts in modeling situations

Math Process Standards

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Model with mathematics.
  4. Use appropriate tools strategically.
  5. Attend to precision.

Summative Assessments

How to Make This a Hierarchical Unit
  • In 7th and 8th grade math, students learn about surface area and volume.  However, outside of the advanced middle school classroom,  they do not yet have the algebra skills necessary to perform the calculations in this unit.  This unit most certainly builds on the solid framework of a middle school student who has learned the basics of surface area and volume.
  • This unit could also be used as a launching pad for higher level math, as the formula for the volume of a cone can be discussed in terms of calculus and integral math.