Originally published in the Union College Magazine, Winter 2014
What may be one of the tastiest experiments ever conducted happened like this:
Dan Anderson ’02 walked into his classroom, held up packages of Oreos, and asked his math students what they’d like to know about America’s favorite cookie. Getting past the obvious thing anyone would want to know (“Can we eat those?”), they were pretty interested in whether the Double Stuf Oreo really has twice as much tasty filling as the original.
So students (who incidentally consumed all cookies by experiment’s end), first determined the average weight of an Oreo. They then found the average weight of just the chocolate wafers. Subtracting this wafer weight from the average weight of original and Double Stuf cookies, they got their hungrily sought after answer.
Double the “stuf”? Close, but no cigar.
“They found that Double Stuf has approximately 1.8 times the stuf-ing of original Oreos,” said Anderson, who teaches math and computer programming at Queensbury High School (N.Y.). “They were excited to learn this, and enjoyed using their math skills to measure real-life situations in new ways.”
That excitement didn’t ebb after the results were tallied, either. Anderson and his students received a lot of attention for their sweet deduction.
“I was very surprised—totally shocked at the viral nature of the coverage,” Anderson said. “I’ve interviewed in video with Fox News, CNN and WNYT, and talked via phone or email with Huffington Post, Good Morning America/Yahoo, Daily Mail.uk, New York Daily News, Reuters and Harper’s Magazine.”
To learn more about the kids (and teacher) with the Oreo cookies, read Anderson's blog: http://blog.recursiveprocess.com