April 5, 2020 – This is such a strange time of our lives. I hope you are staying safe! I want to provide this quick list of math ideas that might bring a bit of joy by using humble toilet paper, which is all-of-a-sudden so important!
1- Use toilet paper to reflect place value
I noticed that a roll of Scott toilet paper claims to have 1,000 sheets. So naturally a roll of toilet paper can reflect the thousands place. Then you can use a strip of 100 sheets to represent the hundreds (if you can spare it). Then a strip of ten, a one square.
It’s fun to really see how place value works in a strong, visual way.
You can even extend the place value through decimals. I cut the roll to represent the decimal point, and then created tenths, hundredths, and even thousandths. So simple!
Now that you created a visual place value chart your students (and yes that includes you parents), you can use this for all sorts of discussions. For example, if you are helping with addition, you can tell them, “Hey when we have more than ten squares, that moves to the next place value.”
Also notice this pattern when you remove the decimal point.
Do you see it, mathematician? Yes? – Square, rectangle, square, rectangle, square, rectangle (though we know that a square is a rectangle). I heard that before the printing press, the decimal point was actually right under the ones, which makes the place value system so beautifully symmetrical.
2 – Track your household use
Did you know that the average person uses 57 sheets a day? Doesn’t that seem like a lot? This would be a fun situation to “Check the Math.” Have each member of your household keep track for a day, or a week. And then figure out the average. Does your household use more or less than the average?
3 – Figure out how long your toilet paper will last
A roll of Scott toilet paper claims to last one week. This is also a great situation to “Check the Math.” Using the information you gathered in idea 2, calculate how much your stash of toilet paper will last. Does it say on the package how many sheets are on a roll? If not, you could use the 1000 sheets per roll on the Scott brand. Would one roll of Scott brand toilet paper last all week?
4 – Think about your toilet paper use and the planet
I was surprised to find out that one tree (that weights 1000 pounds), could produce 810 rolls of toilet paper. So you can use this information to calculate how many trees your household would use, say in 1 year, 10 years, or more.
Well thanks for taking the time to check this blog out. So I want to save you some time in exchange, I have created 4 worksheets that will help you with the above ideas. You can print them or I also made them to be filled out on Google slides. So just click on the image below to download them for FREE.