Candle Burning 3 Act Math Task

Making Predictions With Scatter Plots in the Real World

Candle's Burning 3 Act Math Task

This Real World 3 Act Math Task will have students making predictions via interpolation and extrapolation using scatter plots and a line of best fit.

Related Math Topics:

Data management of two-variables including:

  • making predictions between two-variables,
  • creating scatter plots,
  • classifying correlations as positive/negative and strong/weak, and
  • interpolating and extrapolating using a line of best fit.

This task can be extended to linear relationship and equations by having students determine the equation of a line for the line of best fit to make predictions.

Act 1: Lighting the Candle

Students will watch act 1 and make interpolations and extrapolations related to how long it will take for the candle to burn to ____ cm tall or to completely burn out.

Act 2: Students Request Information

At this stage, students may be requesting more information, such as:

  • how long was the candle before it was lit?
  • how long did it take to get to half the size?

Here are some images that can also help when gradually releasing more information to your students:

Candle's Burning 3 Act Math Task Data Points

Act 3: Compare Student Predictions to Reality

Sequel / Extensions

What if…

Bigger Candle 26 cm tall | 3 Act Math Tasks

…we had a 26 cm candle with the same diameter as the last candle? How long would it take to burn out?

… the relationship between height of the candle and time was perfectly linear? (a perfectly straight line). What could the table of values and graph look like?

This 3 act math task can easily be extended to different situations including a larger/smaller candle, thicker candles and many other ideas that I’m sure you’ll think up as you prepare to use this task.


Candle Burning 3 Act Math Task Resource

Sequel #2:

Added Monday April 14th, 2014

This activity is a great one to address the Understanding Characteristics of Linear Relations specific expectation from MPM1D – Principles of Mathematics, 9:

LR2.04 – determine the equation of a line of best fit for a scatter plot, using an informal process (e.g., using a movable line in dynamic statistical software; using a process of trial and error on a graphing calculator; determining the equation of the line joining two carefully chosen points on the scatter plot).

Click below to grab a math handout that has some of the given information and some area for students to work:

Candle Burning 3 Act Math Task Sequel - Find Equation of Line of Best Fit

Please comment to let me know how it worked in your classroom!

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2 comments on “Candle Burning 3 Act Math Task

  1. Jon Orr says:

    Nice task Kyle, I especially like the use of a scatterplot! Not too many tasks that do this! Planning on using this with grade 9 applied when we get to scatterplots.

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