Thursday, January 16, 2014

Your Eyes Are Amazing

This Centrum television commercial caught my ear for a few reasons. I tracked it down on the Internet tonight and edited it for Act 1. You can find the entire lesson here at It's a quick little lesson for Math 6 (6.RP.3d).

Act 1:

Question: How many football fields is 10 miles?

Act 2:
I'm not giving much information for Act 2 as I'm leaving this part of the mathematical modeling process up to the teachers and the students (mainly students). I think there's an essential part to the classroom discussion and I hint at it with the following questions (if necessary) left in the teacher notes:

  • Ask students, "What information would be helpful here?"
  • Ask students, "How are football fields measured and with what unit of measurement?"
  • Allow your students to decide the length of a football field.

I'd like you to do the math right now. Go ahead. I'll wait. It won't take you long.

10 miles. How many football fields is that?

Act 3:

Is this commercial's math wrong???

Should it be 176 football fields or 146 football fields?

What did you use as your football field length? Did you use 100 yards? Did you account for the end-zones being 10 yards each, making the total length of the football field 120 yards?

On a related note, I'm a little surprised the Centrum didn't use 100 yards so they could claim 176 football fields for a more dramatical pitch in their commercial. I also think it's fun to talk about what it would take for human eyes to actually see that candle 10 miles away. Darkety-dark-dark probably. No light pollution. No obstructions. Maybe a desert? No bright moon (which the commercial includes for some weird reason).

I'll be using this with my sixth graders this year when we get to conversions. It's a fun little task. Let me know if you have anything to add.

Candle Eyes,


  1. Great task, Andrew. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I just read an article this morning, that if the world were flat, the human eye could see the flicker of a candle from 30 miles away. Due to the world being round we can only see the flicker of a candle up to 3.1 miles away. (Assuming complete darkness) -- very cool task.

  3. It must be because Football pitches are 110m long - (British Football - not American football). #Limey great work.