The Oreo Project

08 December 2019
If there's one math activity that my students remember for years after being in my class, it's Oreo Day.  I have been doing Oreo Day since 2011 (you can read my first blog post about it HERE), and even on the first day of school, new classes of students will ask, "Are we going to do Oreo Day this year?"  And of course, my answer is ... you can count on it.  ;)

Runde's Room:  The Oreo Project - An Upper Grades Graphing Activity
I've tweaked our day a bit over the years, added in even more math, and created an Oreo Project Graphing Activity that students hand in for assessment at the end.

Runde's Room:  The Oreo Project - An Upper Grades Graphing Activity
We start our day with the Oreo Stacking Challenge.  This. Is. So. Much. Fun!  I put my students into groups of 4, with each group needing approximately one large package of Oreos (the median stack is usually about 25 Oreos - I think our record is 33).  Rules for stacking include - use only one hand, no adjusting the stack at any time, once you place your cookie on the stack, you cannot move it, and even if one cookie drops from the stack, the stack is considered tumbled.  I hand out a large piece of paper to stack on (to help contain any crumbs) and a pack of cookies to each group.  Groups choose their first stacker, and the rest of the group has the job of counting the cookies as they are placed in the stack.  After all groups have finished their first stack, we record the results on a chart, and then repeat until all members have had a turn.  After this first round, we have a quick discussion about strategies for taller stacks (some of their strategies are hilarious), then we complete a second round so that all students have two results.  We pick the best result from each student to make our set of data.

Runde's Room:  The Oreo Project - An Upper Grades Graphing Activity
From there, students use the data to find the mean, mode, and median of the numbers, and then they draw a bar graph (with intervals) to display their data.  A double bar graph comparing two sets of data (boys/girls, first stack/second stack, etc.) is another option. 

Note - because of the handling of the Oreos, we don't actually eat the cookies we use to stack.  But we definitely do share some of the extras at the end.  ;)

Runde's Room:  The Oreo Project - An Upper Grades Graphing Activity
This year we tried out a new Oreo activity, and it was a HUGE hit!  While shopping for the Oreos (I've also asked parents to donate packages to the class), there were SO many flavours!  My daughters suggested I do a taste test with them ... and the rest is history. 

For our Oreo Taste Test Challenge, we had 7 different varieties of Oreos.  I cut the cookies in half (we had to show some self-restraint - lol) and placed them on plates around the room.  Students walked around the class testing the different flavours.  To vote, I gave them each a token to place in a cup beside their favourite flavour.  We then counted our results and recorded them on a tally chart.  Mint Oreos were an overwhelming favourite this year!  We recorded the results on a tally chart, then students used the data to create a pictograph, then found the percentages for each flavour to create a circle graph showing our preferences.

You can view the resources that accompany our Oreo Project by clicking HERE or on the picture below.  This resource includes lesson ideas and instructions, all the printables you need for the data and graphing activities for the Stacking Challenge and the Taste Test, as well as a rubric for assessment.  
Runde's Room:  The Oreo Project - An Upper Grades Graphing Activity
Besides graphing and data management, there are so many other activities you could do for Oreo Day:
  • make the phases of the moon with the bottom of the cookie and the icing
  • create a new flavour of Oreo and make an advertisement for it (print or video)
  • write a descriptive paragraph about an Oreo
  • write a short story from the point of view of an Oreo who escaped from the cookie factory
  • research about how a cookie is made
  • research the nutritional information to compare different kinds of snacks
  • find the unit cost of one cookie
  • measure the circumference of an Oreo (or find the area)
  • calculate how many Oreos you would need to stretch across your class or down the hall
  • build a structure to protect the cookie from damage and have an "Oreo Drop"

Note:  If food allergies/sensitivities, or medical issues are present in your classroom, you could still have fun with a stacking contest to collect data and use non-food items like erasers, marker caps, math manipulatives like linking cubes or counters, etc.




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