Lesson Plan Template: Model Eliciting Activity (MEA)
- determine tire surface area and cost, given the cost per unit area
- develop a procedure to rank the tires by analyzing the data given in the context of the problem
- communicate their reasoning effectively and coherently to peers
- present information, findings, and evidence
Students must understand the attributes of geometric concepts, specifically a cylinder.
MAFS.8.G.3.9 requires students to use the volume of a cylinder to solve problems.
The following steps are recommended when implementing this MEA in the classroom:
- Students read the informational texts (see Supplemental Reading) and the teacher leads a class discussion.
- Students are presented with the first client letter (see Reading Passage 1) and the first dataset (see Data set 1) and respond to the Readiness questions. Class discussion follows to ensure understanding of the task.
- Individually, students brainstorm about several ways to solve the client's problem.
- Students are then grouped in teams of three according to best practices and the teacher's professional judgment.
- In teams, students share the best idea that they imagined with their teammates.
- Teams select an idea that they would like to develop further and each team then creates a procedure to solve the client's problem.
- The teacher will ask students the Guiding/Reflective questions as teams are creating their procedures and address any issues that may arise. For example if students areworkingonanMEA for the first time, it might be difficult for them to grasp that they need to come up with a clear and concise procedure rather than a final answer (simply selecting and ranking alternatives).
- Teachers might choose to lead the students in a pre-exercise to learn how to write a detailed procedure (e.g., have students write detailed instructions on how to tie a shoelace and have another student try to follow the step by step instructions).
- Students write a detailed letter to the client explaining their procedure in detail.
- If teams finish early they can develop additional procedures, indicating which procedure is the best one and explaining their reasoning.
- Students receive the second client letter (see Reading Passage 2) and the second set of data (Data set 2), along with their work from part 1.
- Teams test, evaluate, and revise their first procedure as necessary with the second dataset.
- Students write a second letter to the client explaining their procedures in detail and how and why the procedure did or did not change.
- If teams finish early, they can switch letters with another team and test the other team's procedure. They can write a letter to the other team explaining how their solution can be improved upon or explain how their own procedure is similar or different.
- After all of the teams have completed their second letters to the client, the teams will present their results to the rest of the class (or in paired teams). Peer critique and discussion follow.
Two web-based information texts can be provided to introduce the lesson, which will give students greater context associated with the issues of selecting the right tire.
Informational Text 1
Firestone tire recall article, available at:
Citation: O'Dell, J. (2000, August). Firestone still under pressure despite its tire recall. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from:
Summary: The massive Bridgestone/Firestone recall in the wake of nearly 300 traffic accidents and 46 deaths linked to disintegrating tire treads failed Thursday to relieve pressure on the beleaguered tire maker and its automotive partner Ford Motor Co.
Discussion questions: What factors might be important to consider when designing a tire? What are some implications of poorly designed tires?
Informational Text 2
Airless tires for the military, available at: https://news.wisc.edu/uw-madison-engineers-help-resilient-technologies-reinvent-the-wheel/
Citation: Mattmiller, B. (July, 2008). Airless tire project may prove a lifesaver in military combat. College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved online from: https://news.wisc.edu/uw-madison-engineers-help-resilient-technologies-reinvent-the-wheel/
Summary: A startup company in Madison, Wisconsin is exploring how to develop tires that can withstand the extreme conditions of military combat zones.
Discussion questions: What are some different needs that clients might have with regards to choosing tires? What are some possible advantages and disadvantages of airless tires?
- What are strengths and weaknesses of each type of tire?
- If the situation were slightly different, would your tire type need to change?
- Who has a different strategy or procedure?
- How is your strategy similar or different from other teams?
- Do you agree or disagree with your classmates' ideas? Why or why not?
- Are there other constraints we are not considering?
Reading Passage 1
Dear engineering team,
Our company, "Tires 'R' Us", is responsible for equipping the United States military with custom-made vehicles to fit many different uses and terrains. The military has recently requested a tire from us to go on a vehicle that is capable of driving on regular paved roads and also on rough off-road terrain. We need your team to develop a procedure to select the best tire materials given the military's needs. Please provide us with a letter that ranks your choices of tire materials from most to least desirable and describe your procedure in detail. We are only interested in the following sizes: three values for the Section Width, which are 200, 265, and 330; two values for the Aspect Ratio, which are 45% and 88%. Be sure to include the total cost of material for each tire.
"Tires 'R' Us" President
What is the problem? (need a tire for both on and off road terrain)
Who is the client in this problem? (Pat Smith at Tires R Us)
Who are the customers that the letter is referring to? (the military)
What does the client need? (a procedure to select the best tire materials given the military's needs)
What do the customers need? (a tire for both on and off road terrain for military use)
What do you need to include in your letter? (procedure for selection and cost of material for each tire)
Data Set 1
How can you calculate the cost of material for each tire?
How can you use the cylinder formula in this problem?
Letter Template 1
As an accommodation, students may be provided with a letter template.
Reading Passage 2
Dear Engineering Team,
Thank you for your help! We received your letter and implemented your procedure successfully. The military was very satisfied with their vehicles' tires. However, we recently received a new request. The military has a base that is located in the Alaskan tundra and they will need tires that can travel through snowy paved roads, but can also handle off-road conditions in the snow on low to moderate mountain slopes. We need you to test that your original procedure still works to select the best tire for this situation, and if not to modify it to work with this situation as well. Please provide us with a second letter that ranks your choices of tire materials from most to least desirable and describe your procedure in detail. We are only interested in the following sizes: three values for the Section Width, which are 200, 265, and 330; two values for the Aspect Ratio, which are 45% and 88%. Again, be sure to include the total cost of material for each tire.
"Tires 'R' Us" President
Reflection Question 2
Did your procedure change after the second letter and data? Why or why not?
Data Set 2
Letter Template 2
As an accommodation, students may use a letter template to write the second letter:
Additional Instructions or Materials
The following are materials that may be helpful for the teacher's use; the teacher may also choose to distibute these to students as needed: Teacher_Materials.docx
Readiness Questions (see the Readiness questions section) can be used as formative assessment. Readiness questions will indicate whether the students understand the problem and the problem context. The readiness questions are asked of students after they read the client letter (see Reading Passage 1) and data set 1. The teacher can ask the class to respond to these questions and ensure understanding before students begin brainstorming and working with the data.
Guiding/Reflective Questions (See Guiding/Reflective questions section) can be asked during the lesson to ensure students are working in the correct direction and allow the teacher explain or make any changes necessary as the lesson progresses.
Feedback to Students
The teacher should ask the Guiding/Reflection questions of each team or the entire class as students are working on the problem and provide feedback as needed. The teacher should also circulate to all groups and provide feedback as they are working to ensure that students are grasping the concepts and to address any misconceptions.
Upon completion of the lesson, the teacher can measure how students met the learning objectives using the following methods.
Presentation rubric: Group_Presentation_Rubric.docx
Writing rubric: Business_Letter_Writing_Rubric.docx
Mathematics calculations: Calculations_spreadsheet_.xlsx