# Lesson Plan

## Tallest Stack Wins

Main Subject Area: Mathematics

Keywords:

• Probability
• Problem Solving
• Statistics

Brief Description:

Students build a stack of pennies as tall as possible, recording the number of pennies they are able to stack before the tower falls. Then, sharing answers, they determine the average number of pennies that could be stacked.

National Standard(s):

• Data Analysis and Probability

Objectives:

Students will systematically collect, organize, and describe data, as well as make an inference and convincing argument based on data analysis. In addition, students will develop an appreciation for statistical methods as decision-making tools.

Materials (online):

Materials (offline):

A bag of pennies for each group, pencils and paper for recording, and box lids that can be used to "catch" the pennies when a stack falls.

Coins Used in Lesson:

Procedures (online):

Procedures (offline):

1. Divide students in small groups of five. Each group needs one recorder and four builders.

2. Each builder takes his or her turn stacking the pennies one at a time, building the stack as high as possible. The recorder notes the height (in pennies) of each stack just before it fell.

3. Once all four builders have made their stacks, students should switch roles so the recorder can build a fifth stack.

4. After building five stacks, students together determine the average number of pennies in a stack before it falls. (This can be done with calculators or not.)

Assessment / Evaluation:

How well were students able to systematically collect, organize, describe, and analyze the penny data?

Differentiated Learning Options:

Have students conduct the same experiment with different denominations of coins, seeing how their size and thickness changes the stacking results.