If I’ve used an activity for three years in a row, I guess it’s a tradition! My calculus students have done this one for several years now, and it’s always been a hit.
To introduce the concept of volumes of rotated solids, I have my students slice cucumbers into disks and measure the volume of each slice. Then they add them up to approximate the total volume. It’s a nice way to help them visualize objects in 3D. You can read about what we do in a couple of earlier posts, here and here.
Here are the basics of the lesson:
1. Review the formula for the volume of a cylinder:
2. Pair up the students, and distribute the cucumbers.
I used small seedless cucumbers that came six to a pack, and were relatively similar in size:
Have a discussion on whether we can use the cylinder volume formula to…
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