Monday, August 5, 2013

Wendy's 256 Lies - Version 2013

Last year, I taught Trigonometry during the first semester. The first unit is all about probability and data analysis. I'm just starting to pump myself up for possibly (still don't know) teaching the class again. If you recall, I made a class project about dressing up barbie and ken for a date reinforcing the fundamental counting principle (still need to actually teach it but excited to do so!). Now, I'm trying to "beef up" (oh I sleigh myself - and yes I just did that double time - Rudolph, bahaha - my dog is sleeping and not laughing with me) the Wendy's project a bit more from last year.

I attempted to do this project last year with some issues. A long time ago, I had pinned the project from Walking in Math Land (a great blog) and was super excited to use it with my kids. In the project, it describes how Wendy's created these bags with the lie that there are 256 ways to personalize a hamburger. So many bags were printed with so many lies and you know how kids love to call people out. It sounded like the perfect project.

I had several issues as we struggled to discover the 9 toppings that would prove Wendy's wrong. This unfortunately caused the kids to doubt me (really not cool for a first year teacher) and many of their letters were subpar, at best. In fact, some of my kids even wrote things like "my teacher is making me do this but I know that the bag is right." It made me very sad. But I was determined not to let this project go, I mean for goodness sake, we are in Columbus where Wendy's was started! I live down the street from the headquarters!

Here's where the Version 2013 comes into play. This summer, a facebook post popped up from Wendy's (yes, I liked Wendy's on Facebook and get updates now).

The post was perfect! It read "If you could only get one topping on your cheeseburger for the rest of your life, what would it be?" Eureka! Wendy's updated all the toppings that they have to date and now I can add another question onto the project!

I based my worksheet completely off of Walking in Math Land's project/rubric (changing the font, of course - I'm a Century Gothic girl). But now, I've tweaked the 7th question that says Calculate!

The questions now read......

7. Calculate the number of ways to make a hamburger at Wendy’s based upon the toppings that you come up with.

8. Calculate the number of ways to make a hamburger at Wendy’s according to the Facebook post.

The first one is killing me because I remember learning that you can't end a sentence with a preposition (the kids are constantly correcting my grammar). I loved that I now can have the kids doing double the math but also, perhaps some of them will come up with the total Wendy's had originally gotten back when they created their bags. Okay, crossed fingers that it goes better this year especially now that I have even more Wendy's proof of what their toppings could be. Mwahaha!

I won't be uploading "my project worksheet / rubric" as it's really not my own aside from me changing font so please visit Walking in Math Land' for their stuff.

Update: Here are screenshots of the Smart Notebook slides I'll have up when going over the math behind Wendy's lie (prior to informing them of their project - letter).

Here is my introduction slide to the activity we are about to embark on.

This slide just contains the first three questions (with spelling edited from the worksheet provided). On question 3, this is where you get to have the debate with your kids as to what the toppings actually are (8 toppings - ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon or cheese - you can debate whether or not to include cheese as it is a hamburger or bacon as it costs additional money but if you include both, that's where you get your 9 toppings and thus too many combinations). 8 is the perfect number according to Wendy's.

Here's where I now throw in the 2013 loop. Wendy's posted this status on their facebook asking readers what their favorite toppings were and included the above. 15 toppings for a CHEESEburger so 16 (including cheese) for a hamburger (they do not include bacon). Wow, what a difference a few years will make! Write these toppings/number on the board.

Review the topic for the day (permutations vs. combinations).

Now here's the fun part, for number 7, let the kids calculate either 8 or 9 toppings from the ones you came up with as a class. If they do 8, they get exactly the "right" 256 (don't forget, no toppings is an option). If they do 9, they go over board. This will be something for them to highlight in their letter. But with number 8's question, you get to bring Wendy's back into the current year and say hey dude, you're publicizing the toppings and asking the readers which one's their favorites are and according to you, you have way too many toppings now to justify your bag's claim.

Enjoy :)


  1. How did you add the signature to the end of each of your posts?


      Here ya go! I found this post on how to and because I'm not a pro with photoshop, I just took a screen shot of my post backgrounds and used that as my background for the signature.

      Hope this helped!

  2. How do you calculate for atmospheric light distortion in space travel?

  3. Not sure if this is possible in ALL Wendy's, but in NC Wendy's has a burger (called the Carolina Classic) that includes chili and slaw, therefore making it possible for those to be in the "toppings" list! Regionally, the 256 ways is WAY underboard if those are included!

    1. This could be a state by state project! One of my administrators forwarded onto me a Chipotle version of the project ..... It's on..... next time I teach it ;)

  4. Were your students still able to get the coupon?

    1. No :( They weren't sent the coupons. But fear not, I have a new project coming soon that features the Wendy's controversy but also analyzes other companies too! Stay posted!

  5. ok nobody give a shit

  6. Suck my juicy ass black cock


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