Google Earth and Volume and Surface Area

Here is another project by Real World Math projects integrate Google Earth with various math topics, this one on Volume and Surface Area. Below is a very brief excerpt from their site, but you need to visit the site itself for the full project:

Volume and Surface Area – Real World Math

•Find the volume of geometric solids using a formula
•Find the surface area of geometric solids using a formula

Lesson Description
Volume and Surface Area problems appear three dimensionally in this collection of Google Earth locations. With the “3D Buildings” mode in Google Earth’s “Layers” selected, the students will be able to view and pan around these solids. Each place-mark icon includes the necessary dimensions students need to complete the Geometric Solids Worksheet.

All the World’s Water – Volume of a Sphere Project

This picture inspires a wonderful volume project, and can easily have scientific notation and proportions integrated into the project as well.
(1) Have students calculate the volume of the Earth.
(2) Research the amount of water that’s on the Earth (about 326 million trillion gallons according to
(3) Have students calculate what size sphere would hold that volume of water
(4) Either with a computer drawing program or just on a piece of paper, have students use proportions to show the size of the Earth compared to the sphere that would hold the world’s water.

** The same thing can be done with air (atmosphere), though I couldn’t find a specific number as to the exact volume of air. But considering the atmosphere extends (very roughly) out to about 300 km (there’s more atmosphere, I’m sure, but the density of the molecules would be very negligible), simply take the radius of the Earth (6,378.1 km) to figure out the volume of the Earth, then draw another sphere around the Earth that has a radius of 6,678.1 (radius of Earth + 300) and calculate the volume of that sphere, and the difference would be the volume of the atmosphere … albeit a very rough estimation. Students shouldn’t be told this, of course!

Here’s a site with more information about the Amount of Water in/on/above the Earth.

World’s Largest …

I’m a great fan of dy/dan’s philosophy of teaching math. But I’m also a fan of practical ideas to integrate into a lesson plan. Luckily, he provides wonderful resources in that regard.

He has “3 Act” lessons which are lessons that incorporate multimedia. This particular lesson, as the title states, is about the world’s largest coffee cup. Here’s his complete coffee cup lesson:

dy/dan’s World’s Largest Coffee Cup

I categorized this post in the “Volume and Surface Area,” “Proportions,” and “Linear equations” because I’m considering using it as a “visual word problem” for those units.

Volume and Surface Area
- It could be a simple question about volume and surface area. How much paint did they need to paint the outside of the cup? How much coffee did they need to fill up the cup?

- If the average person drinks x ounces of coffee, how many people will it take to drink all the coffee in the worlds largest coffee cup or
-If the average person is 69 inches tall, what size would a person have to be for this cup to be a “normal” cup for him/her. (The typical regular sized coffee mug is 3.5 to 4 inches tall, but I wouldn’t have to tell the students this. I have enough coffee mugs that I could just give them a mug and a ruler…)

Linear Equations
- Given a rate of flow (and assuming a constant rate), students could calculate and graph how long it took to fill up the cup, or given the time of how long it took to fill up the cup, students could calculate the rate of flow, etc.

For whatever reason, my laptop mini won’t play the videos from Dan’s links, but will play them directly from YouTube. Here’s two of the videos in the lesson that can be found on YouTube:

Intro to Problem
(The repetitive “music” gets annoying…)

Video with Numbers

I’d still encourage you to go to Dan’s site, maybe his video links will work for you. You’ll also need the other information, such as the picture that shows the dimensions of the cup, etc. Lastly, you’ll see the whole picture of what Dan’s lesson is really about, which is more than my currently watered down version.

Following the same concept is the world’s largest burger:
I’ll list some of the stats that can be molded into questions below, but you can find them and the accompanying video here.

1,375,000 calories
Over 600 pounds of beef
30 pounds of lettuce
12 pounds of pickles
20 pounds of onions
28 inch thick, 110 pound bun.
(That’s only a total of 772 pounds so when they say over 600 pounds of beef, I’ll assume they mean 605 pounds of beef).
14 hours to cook
3 ft thick, 5 ft in diameter