The Day My Room Became Kellogg’s

I am originally from Michigan. So is the Kellogg Company. I also grew up eating cereal for breakfast often because I don’t like eggs (I know, I’m weird). Whatever way you want to spin it, I love cereal.

The day before winter break is always a struggle, so I wanted to provide my students who would be present with the opportunity to do something a little different and a little more hands-on. I did lots of Google searching to find a project that I thought would be enjoyable and the students would be able to finish during one class period with minimal prep (they started working on them during AEP (study hall) earlier that same week).

There are a TON of really awesome projects involving solids, but eventually I settled on the cereal boxes. Students were tasked with creating two different cereal boxes that would contain at least 2 cups of cereal. Once we figured out how much cereal was in 2 cups (2 cups is approximately 475 cubic centimeters, and this led into a really awesome conversation about volume and conversions, i.e. was 2 cups of cereal always going to be the same as 2 cups of anything else?) the students started drawing out their designs. cereal1

So many nets were drawn. On paper. On desks. On the whiteboards. They were drawn and then erased and then labeled and then scratched out.cereal3

Students: “How do we know what all of our measurements need to be if all we know is the volume?”

Me: “Figure it out!”

Eventually they did. We had many discussions about how to tweak dimensions to alter the total volume. We had many discussions about what to do if their volume was more or less than 475 cubic centimeters. We had many discussions about overlaps and flaps and what the components of an actual cereal box were. One group of students tried to create a spherical container using a net made up of hexagons – it was awesome.

They they got to constructing! Measuring, cutting, taping, and decorating their containers. Some even gave their cereal names and nutrition facts. I had a tester measuring cup that the groups could use to check their containers before bringing me the final constructions. After completing their constructions, the students were supposed to calculate the cost of constructing each container given a hypothetical cost of materials and determine which container they would choose to produce, backing up their choice with math and any other explanation they wanted to include. cereal4

Once all of their drawing, calculations, and constructions were complete, the students had one final graded test. The only way each group could get an A on the project was if everything else was completed AND the 2 cups of cereal actually fit into their container when poured!

Once I learn how to attach/upload files I will get the rubric on here. There are definitely things I would change if I were to do this project again but I think it was a great day-before-break activity.


A high school math teacher trying to help her students find the world and find math through math.

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