Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lies in Advertising - Analyzing a Real World Problem through Permutations/Combinations

A while back, I posted that I would soon be having several posts regarding new projects. Well here comes the first one! Last term, if you recall, I did my Wendy's Letter Project. This went pretty well but this term, I needed something new. You see, over half of my kids are recovering the class and they needed a new challenge and I needed something more entertaining to grade that had a little more open endedness to it.

Just after I had finished doing the Wendy's letter project last term, my assistant principal had emailed me a link to a similar project that had reminded him of my Wendy's one, it was featuring Chipotle, every teenager's favorite place. So then, that got me thinking, how many other restaurants out there are doing math and showing it off? Why can't my kids do the math and analyze the validity of these advertisements. And thus, the Lies in Advertising Project was created!

The project starts out just like the Wendy's letter did with a few questions analyzing the validity of Wendy's claim. We did this part in class and I had them work in groups. We then talked about a few of the questions as a class (for one of the questions, it's important to come up with toppings as a class). I felt like this part was important to give some framing to the rest of the project and also eliminate Wendy's as an option for Part 2 (for those of my kids who had already done that portion). One part that I didn't foresee being an issue was having the facebook post included on the project as many of them referred to this when coming up with the toppings. Note to self, don't completely pass out project when doing this? Thoughts?

I also like that a new aspect to this part is having the kids research different toppings in different states. Some kids even explored Japan!

Part 2 requires the students to go out and look into other businesses and research the claims that they are  making. Sometimes, they will find that their claims are true while other times, they will find that mathematically, they are not. Some examples include Chipotle, Coldstone (bazillion is so not mathematically correct).

Some of the places that they came up with, man! I loved it. We got Sonic, Chipotle, Subway, Starbucks, just to name a few. Now, something that I noticed a lot was the fact that my some of my kids really wanted to (1) just do the fundamental counting principle - leading to a future convo of why this won't work and (2) a lot of them got hung up on this idea that the different meats in the subway and chipotle contents were toppings so when they did their combinations these were included in the total, my point... is there really a burrito with just cheese and salsa? A few of my kids recognized the importance of stating their assumptions.

Now Part 3, that's where the creativity comes in. For this part, I have the kids creating advertisements that show off the true ways to personalize a product at these restaurants. Advertisements can come in the form of a print ad or a video ad. As an offer to my kids and as a hope for some better results, I explained that if they wanted to work in pairs for this portion, they could so long as they had a conversation with me regarding the increase in expectations of what could be produced by an individual versus a pair.

Here are some of the print ads that my kiddos came up with this term!

You can't see it... but they had a disclaimer that says that it differs from state to state. Love it!
I really liked the slogan.....

Their presentation of the information was very nice but we had to have the conversation about clearly labeling all the different syrups, etc.

I actually thought this was a clever choice. The whopper has a specific selection of toppings so you can't veer from them, otherwise, it's no longer a whopper. Hmm... I wonder why they wouldn't have advertised this?

The Five Guys projects were actually done by twins :)

I loved the simplicity of this one. It was great.

Perhaps if I had allowed more time (or if it hadn't been OGT week), I could have gotten some video ads. I got one.... but it wasn't worth sharing....

Lastly, the fourth part is a reflective piece where the kids discuss what all they learned from this project. Common Core is so focused on the process and thinking about the connections that I feel like this piece just further adds to my children's ability to articulate their realizations that occurred through the completion of this project.

One of my favorite parts of this reflection was that two of kids genuinely made a mathematical observation. See below.

I do intend to have the advertisements presented to the class so that again, I have kids practicing the ability to present mathematical information in a fun and realistic method.

Current Rubric. I feel like I almost want to make Part 2 and Part 3 both worth 20 points as Part 1 was done together, making it, in my opinion, truly freebie points. In the future, this could change.

Another Thought: Those new coca cola machines could be a fun investigation about the number of ways to personalize your drinks ;)

Side note: a few of my kids decided to use summation to help calculate this.... props to my kiddos (the ones who hadn't taken my course before) on figuring out a new math topic!

Wow, long post. But, hey, I was really excited about this project :) Any feedback is appreciated.

TPT Link:


  1. I am thinking about doing this in my stats class because we are learning about permutations and combinations. I would really like to see a complete student example if you had one.

    1. Hi There! Thanks for your comment. The examples that I have posted (I believe) are the only examples that I have left. I made this post when I was teaching at my old school so the content from this post was on my old school computer. I'm so sorry for the inconvenience!

  2. Please help! I really like this activity, but I am having trouble finding ads with numbers of combinations in it. I have only found Five Guys and Subway. Is there a key word or something I should use?

  3. Need To Increase Your ClickBank Banner Traffic And Commissions?

    Bannerizer made it easy for you to promote ClickBank products by banners, simply visit Bannerizer, and get the banner codes for your chosen ClickBank products or use the Universal ClickBank Banner Rotator to promote all of the ClickBank products.

  4. How many days did you give kids to work on this?

  5. Thanks for another wonderful post. Where else could anybody get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing? rtb advertising


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...