Day 1

"The Keebler Elves need your help. They have this new cracker that they want to market, and they need you to design a container that is either a cylinder or a prism, depending on the cost analysis of each design. You will provide the Keebler Elves with your recommendation on the best container according to your research on volumes, surface areas, and unit rates of different package sizes."

Step 1. Before we begin to explore the geometry, preview the Keebler Elves Presentation. This will give you an overview and some ideas for the final projects. Be sure to visit the cracker section when you "meet the elves."

Step 2. View the PowerPoint Introduction to 3D objects: 3D Objects Once you have done that, go to Harcourt's Solid Figures and complete this matching game to see how well you understand 3-D Objects. You may also go to Platonic Solids and check your knowledge of faces, vertices and edges.

Step 3. Go to the grocery store or somewhere that sells crackers. Take a look at the products available in the cracker aisle. Be sure to take note of the different packages available for different shapes of crackers. What shapes and sizes are the most common? Why do you think those are so popular? Which packages look the most appealing to you? Start thinking about what kinds of materials and artwork for you will recommend for the Keebler cracker package.

Step 4. Look around for examples of cylinders and prisms tonight. Make a list of the different ways cylinders and prisms are used.

Day 2 & 3

Step 1. View and discuss with a fellow student the following PowerPoint presentation on the information about cylinders: Cylinders 


Step 2. Go to Volume of a Cylinder and practice calculating volumes of various cylinders.

Step 3. View and discuss with a fellow student the following PowerPoint presentation on the information about prisms: Prisms



Step 4. Go to Volume of a Rectangular Prism and Volume of a Triangular Prism to practice calculating the volumes of various prisms.

Step 5. Now that you are familiar with cylinders and prisms, go to Utah State University's game How High. This game will help you see how different containers hold different volumes.

Step 6. Take a quiz to see how familar you are with 3D objects: Quiz 3D Solids. How did you do? Do you need to review some more? If so, check out these resources:

Step 7. Find a cylinder container and a prism container and bring them to class tomorrow.

Day 4

Step 1. Take measurements of your cylinder and prism containers. Print and fill out all of the questions on the Individual worksheet.

Step 2. After you have collected your data, use other containers supplied by the teacher and students to get measurements for eight different cylinders and prisms.    


Day 5

Step 1. Now we are ready to graph our data using Microsoft Excel. Read the following instructions for how to input your data: Instructions for Graphing Unit Rate.

Step 2. Input your data on the following Microsoft Excel spreadsheets: Cylinder Unit Rate and Prism Unit Rate.

Step 3. Print the graph of the Cylinder Unit Rates & the Prism Unit Rates. This is done by first clicking the chart button on the bottom of the spreadsheet, then printing it from the print menu.


Day 6

Step 1. Organize yourselves into cooperative learning groups of 3-4 students.

Step 2. Print and complete the group worksheets for your cooperative learning group: Group Worksheets.

 Print and complete the group worksheets for your cooperative learning group: .

Step 3. Discuss your group findings with the class.

Creating a Prototype       

Day 8

Step 1. First, go to Erich's Packing Center. After you have seen different packing ideas, determine the shape and size of your cracker. The examples given, along with what you learned in the first process, should help you make this decision.

Step 2. Think about the activities you have done with cylinders and prisms. Choose the shape you want to use for your cracker package.

Step 3. Reflect on the observations you have made of packaging currently being used. What colors, graphics and words caught your attention most?

Step 4. Begin designing your prototype package. This will be turned with your persuasive letter. Have fun!


Writing the Letter       

Now that you've figured out what the cracker packaging should look like, it's time to present your findings to the Keebler Elves. The Elves are professionals; if you want them to take your recommendations seriously, you'll need to present your ideas professionally, too. To make the best possible impression, use business letter formatting and strong, well-organized persuasive writing. Here's how:

Don't worry -- you'll find more detailed instructions below. You can do it!

Creating the Persuasive Essay       

Step 1: Scholastic Writing Workshop

Go to the Scholastic Writing Workshop on Persuasive Writing at

1.      Click on the "It's a Fact!" link. This will take you to a groovy practice page that will help you to review how to use good evidence to support your argument

2.      Click on the "Making Connections" link. This will take you to an equally groovy activity to help you review how to use good transition words to make your writing flow smoothly.

3.      Go to the "Prewrite" page (use the link on the left, or just click on "Next" at the bottom of the screen), then use the tabs at the top of the page to go to "Make Your Case." This page will guide you through how to organize your arguments.

a)      List your arguments: Start with your geometric reasoning! What is the unit rate for your shape, and what are the unit rates of other shapes? How do those numbers support your advice? Why are they significant? Also consider what you’ve discovered about packaging through your grocery store research. Why should they follow your complete design? You should have at least two arguments besides the geometry to support your recommendation.

b)      Plan your structure: The site asks you to address the reasons people might disagree with each of your points. Be creative but realistic!

c)      Planning worksheet: At the bottom of the “Make Your Case” page, you’ll see a link for a planning worksheet. You can use this as a template to help you organize your ideas.

Step 2: Writing your thesis  

1.      Go to, the Thesis Builder website, and fill in the blanks with information for your letter. Then click “Build a Thesis.”

2.      Your thesis probably looks a little funny, right? That’s okay – copy it from the results box and paste it into a Word document.

3.      Now go to Literacy Education Online’s guidelines for writing a thesis statement at Read over these guidelines, and keep them in mind while you revise your thesis. Don’t break any of these rules while you revise!

Step 3: Writing your essay  

1.      Go back to the Scholastic Writing Workshop (see Step 1 for link) and find the “Draft” page. Read over the guidelines for writing a draft, and look at the draft outline worksheet at the bottom (click on the word “Print” to see this worksheet).

2.      Go back to the planning notes you took in Step 1. Use these and the guidelines from the “Draft” page to write your persuasive essay.

3.      Write your draft in a Word document. Remember that your thesis statement (from Step 2) should be the final sentence of your introductory paragraph. Make sure to include an explanation of the geometric concepts involved and a description of the mathematical process you used to reach your conclusion!

4.      Once you’ve written your complete draft, go back through and correct any mechanical errors you see.

a)      Spelling

b)      Capitalization

c)      Punctuation

d)      Grammar

5.      Save your beautiful first draft on your computer.

Formatting the Business Letter

Step 1: Meet the Wizard!  

1.      Open Microsoft Word, then use the pull-down File menu to select “New…”

2.      From the list of Templates to the right of the document, select “On my computer”

3.      Click on the “Letters and Faxes” tab, then double-click the “Professional Letter” icon

4.      A new document should appear with some basic business letter formatting and instructions.

a)      Copy your essay and paste it into the space that says, “Type your letter here.”

b)      When you’ve done this, you should see a little clipboard icon at the bottom of your essay text. Click on that icon, and select “Match destination formatting.” This will ensure that the body of your letter uses proper business formatting.

c)      Click on each space that says “Click here” and type in the appropriate information

Step 2: Finish formatting         

1.      Now use the websites listed below to learn more about the following parts of a business letter:

·         heading/sender’s address

·         date

·         inside address

·         salutation/greeting

·         body

·         closing

·         signature (typed name and title)



·         Friendly Letter and Business Letter formats

·         Purdue University ’s Online Writing Lab

·         Oregon State University business writing resources

·         University of Idaho advanced technical writing resources


2.      Do you have all of these in your letter? (I’ll give you a hint – the answer is “No!”) Identify which pieces you have and which are missing.

3.      Use the information you found at the formatting websites to add all of the missing pieces to your letter. Make sure to use correct spacing!

4.      When you’ve finished your formatting, save your even more beautiful letter.

5.      Go to ( and submit your letter to the “Keebler Letter Draft” assignment folder.

Peer Review and Final Draft

Step 1: Peer review                 

1.      Go to ( and find the “Keebler Letter Peer Review” assignment. In this folder, you will find two of your classmates’ letters.

2.      Open one letter and read it. While you read, answer the questions presented in the peer review worksheet for this assignment. Remember, critical feedback gives specific, detailed comments and suggestions for improvement. It is also polite!

3.      Once you’ve finished reading and writing your feedback for the first letter, submit your response.

4.      Open the second letter and complete the same process.

Step 2: Final revision and editing    

1.      Go back to the “Keebler Letter Draft” folder to read your classmates’ reviews of your letter.

2.      Use this critical feedback as a guide to improve your letter. Remember, you still need to use your own brain! Think about each suggestion, whether it will improve your letter, and how best to make that change.

3.      Now read your letter aloud to yourself (this works best if you find a quiet place to do it). Did you find any errors? It’s amazing what we notice when we read aloud! Go back and fix any mistakes you found.

4.      Is it beautiful? Is it wonderful? Is it absolutely the best you can possibly do? Does it meet the rubric requirements (see the evaluation page if you aren't sure!)? If the answer to all of these is "Yes!" print your letter, sign it (between the complimentary closing and the typed name and title), and turn it in with your prototype.