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Concept Application

1. Present the class with the following problem:
A cracker manufacturer has been losing money and has to find a way to save her factory. She has a small amount of dough and has to produce enough crackers to make a profit. She knows that if she doesn't waste any dough she can make the greatest number of crackers out of what she has and make the most money. She cares about her profits, but also cares about the environment and wants to use as little packaging as possible. (Boxes and plastic wrapping can be very expensive and the plastic is not biodegradable!) If there is a way that the crackers could fit in the boxes with little extra space, that would save on packaging.

Your task is to design a new shape for the cracker manufacturer so that as little dough as possible is wasted and so that the crackers stack in the box requiring the least material.

2. Divide the class into groups to work on this problem.

3. Students can create and print a cracker pattern using the Boxer Math Toolbox (http://www.boxermath.com/plp/modules/online/workshop/toolbox/mosaictool3). When designs are completed, print them for display and have students write about the nature of their tessellation. The results can be impressive when printed on a color printer. You can also print out the Totally Tessellated templates (http://library.advanced.org/16661/templates/index.html) for students to transform a pattern using color.

Workshop: Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning
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