Hot Coffee

How many gallons fit into that coffee cup?

Ontario Grade Levels:
Common Core Grade Levels:

Shared By:
Dan Meyer

Math Topic:
Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.
Apply geometric concepts in modeling situations.
Explain volume formulas and use them to solve problems.

Ontario Curriculum Alignment:

Common Core State Standard Alignment:

Hot Coffee 3 Act Math Task Summary

Grab all the videos/images by clicking download below:

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Solving Problems With Volume of a Cylinder and Proportional Reasoning

Dan Meyer’s Hot Coffee 3 act math task is my favourite task to use in order to give us a reason to find the volume of a cylinder. Dan has a great summary of this task here, so I’ll just quickly preview what you’ll get when you head to his resource page.

Please note that all material below was shared by Dan Meyer via a Creative Commons CC BY-NC 3.0 License from his site located here.

Act 1, Scene 1 – Introduce the Problem

Show students this video.

What is going on in the video? What questions come to mind? What are you wondering?

The question we are going to head towards is:

How many gallons of coffee will fit in the cup?

Act 1, Scene 2 – The Old Record

I’m sure the discussion around why anyone would want a cup of coffee that big will come up at some point.

Show them this video.

Students will see the old record was 750 gallons of coffee. Let them make their predictions on how many gallons the cup in this record breaking attempt will hold.

The video also discusses how long it took to brew the 750 gallons of coffee used in the old record (4 hours). How long will it take for the new “biggest cup” to fill up?

Act 2 – Details

Here’s some details necessary for students to solve the problem:

Dimensions of the Worlds Largest Cup of Coffee

The Rate of Coffee Being Brewed

And you can use Google to determine the conversion from feet-cubed to gallons (1 ft-cubed = 7.4805 US gallons).

Act 3 – The Answer

Show the students this video.


Grab all the files here including an Apple Keynote presentation file that has all the videos and images conveniently organized in a slide deck for easy use on your MacBook or iOS (iPad, iPhone) device!

Please note that all material above was shared by Dan Meyer via a Creative Commons CC BY-NC 3.0 License from his site located here.

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