## Wednesday, July 27, 2011

### Popping Popcorn in a Popcorn Popper

Popcorn Question from David Cox on Vimeo.

Most of my previous attempts with these story problems have resulted in me slapping on a timecode and cutting the video.  This one had me thinking a bit.  I'm not sure I got it.

1.  What question does this provoke?

2.  If you have a tough time answering #1, what question do you think I was after?  And what can I do to help that question along?

CalcDave said...

1. Is it faster to air pop or oil pop? (although the beginning of the air popping isn't in the video--also I may have been influenced by your previous questions, but not consciously) Which is healthier?

2. I think you are going for 1 cup of seeds = ? cups of popped corn? If so, maybe you could show a few different size bowls in front of the popper ranging from something "ridiculous" like the original measuring cup to something way too huge like a trashcan or something.

Blair said...

1. Will the popcorn fill the bowl?

2. It seems like a reasonably obvious question to me given the opening shot emphasises the difference in size between the unpopped and popped kernel. The one thing I'm wondering is does it provide enough information for the student to device an answer from the video. Generalising volume proportion from the one kernel might be difficult and doesn't account for the inevitable unpopped kernels. Perhaps popping a tablespoon of kernels, showing the result then dumping in the cup.

Dan Anderson said...

1. How much popcorn will be made?

2. Other than some proportion / ratio stuff (1/8th of a cup made 2 cups of popcorn, so how much does 1/2 a cup make etc), I'm not sure where else you go from here. Its a nice ratio/proportion question, but can it be more?

Becca Schutzengel said...

1. First thought was "how long until the popcorn is done popping?"

2. A little more thought led to "which is faster: air popping or oil?" That seems like the more interesting question to me. I honestly didn't think about "will it fill the bowl?" until I read other people's comments. If that's what you were going for, I like CalcDave's suggestion of showing different size containers.

Max said...

I want to know, "how long will it take all the popcorn to pop? And, will it fill the bowl?" But I'm pretty sure it will fill the bowl because it looks like about the size bowl I usually use to pop that many kernels.

For Act 2, I could time how long it took 1 kernel to pop, and my guess is that all the kernels touching the bottom of the air popper pop in that amount of time, then they hop out of the bowl and the next round starts to pop, etc. I could get a decent measurement for the number of kernels to be popped and do some calculations to estimate how long 'til all the kernels have popped. Then, I could watch the video and time from the moment you turn on the popper until the last kernel pops or I give up and decide the last few are defunct.

Anonymous said...

The only question that came to mind was "Are we going to get popcorn?"
Then "how much does an air popper cost and why not just put the popcorn in the microwave? Why have a single use gadget unless you are a popcorn addict?"

(Incidentally, I don't do popcorn in a microwave—I use a cast-iron fry kettle on the top of the stove.)

This video did not immediately make any math problems spring to mind. If I were making popcorn, I might care how much popcorn to use without overloading the popper, but you already showed that. The single kernel popping just seemed like a gratuitous intro—it did not start a story.

(In case anyone hasn't realized it yet, making a non-verbal story that leads to a small set of easily-answered questions is very hard, which is one reason that there are so few examples.)