Popcorn: We Have Questions

Welcome Back Everyone!

Just before the break we generated some mathematical wonders about popcorn that required further time to investigate. So, today we did just that.

Presented with a jar of kernels, a box of microwave popcorn and a bag of popped corn each with a $2.99 price tag, students asked many questions: 

Which product is the best buy? What is the ratio of pooped kernels to ‘not popped’kernels? How many kernels in each package? Which fills the bowl? How long does it take to prepare each of the products? How many would fit safely in our classmates’mouth? Which popcorn do people like best? Which popcorn is healthiest?

Of course, these questions needed answers, so we just had to make popcorn,  I mean, investigate!  

We counted kernels, before and after popping, we timed the process, we compared the the amounts of generated popcorn, and of course, sampled the products. We concluded the kernels on their own was the best buy based on price value. To ensure each person (present that day) received a cup of popcorn it took:

microwave popcorn: whole package – $2.99

popped corn: 2 packages – $5.98

Kernels: 2/9 of package – $0.66 

So, what is the purpose of such an activity? To foster curiosity,  problem solving skills, be a smart/informed consumer, and as one student put it, to make math fun.