Tool: Investigating the Height of a Stack of Cookies 


Go to:  http://academic.pgcc.edu/~ssinex/cookies_stack.xls (opens a new window)  
Description:  How do you get started at mathematical modeling? Here is an easy, quick, and engaging activity and a “just add data” interactive Excel spreadsheet to accomplish that first modeling task. The task involves developing a mathematical model and making predictions by measuring the height of sandwich cookie stacks for a variety of number of cookies. The experimental data is then placed into an Excel spreadsheet that does all the work to produce the model! Discussion of linear regression and goodness of fit can be done later. This “just add data” interactive Excel spreadsheet allows for running two simple simulations to investigate changing the average cookie thickness and how it influences the slope of the graph; and how the introduction of the random variation of individual cookie thickness influences the scatter of the data and value of rsquared, a measure of goodness of fit. Knowledge of Excel is not needed except how to enter data (type numbers into the yellow cells) and working the spinners (click on the up or down arrows) for the simulations! The last page of the guidedinquiry student activity includes a complete explanation as notes to the instructor. So get the centimeter rulers, a package of sandwich cookies such as Oreos, and let the modeling begin. 

Technology Type:  Excel  
Author:  Scott A. Sinex  
Language:  English  
Cost:  Does not require payment for use  
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Activity:  Investigating the Height of a Stack of Cookies  
Courses:  Math 6  Length/height, Data collection, Scatter plots  
Math 7  Equation of the line, Length/height, Data collection, Scatter plots  
Algebra  Is It Linear?, Writing an Equation, Line of Best Fit  
Probability & Statistics  General  
