The Giant Gummy Bear


This is by far my absolutely most favourite problem solving activity. By far. It first appeared on my blog in this form. I have used it numerous times over the past few years, and it’s always a hit. This has best curricular fit in Math 20-2 (Foundations 11) measurement and proportional reasoning, but it could also be used in 10C.

In Dan Meyer’s 3 Act Format:

Act I

Play my question video. It is an edited version of a real Vat 19 video. I took out some information to hopefully add to the perplexity.

Ask the students what they wonder about. Most eventually get to some form of how many small gummy bears make up the big one (easy) and how tall the big gummy bear is (hard).

Act II

This is where we provide them with information that they think they need to solve the problem. I just hand out rulers and bags of small gummy bears. Then they’re on their own.


Play the unedited Vat 19 video or Dan Meyer’s Act III video. Either one will work.


  1. How tall is the man in the video, who is the same height as the gummy bear from 30 feet away?
  2. How many times would you have to walk around the school to burn off the giant gummy bear?




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