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Many restaurants are required to post nutritional information for their foods, including the number of calories. But what does “550 calories” really mean? Instead of calories, what if McDonald’s rewrote its menu in terms of exercise?

In this lesson, students will use unit rates and proportional reasoning to determine how long they’d have to exercise to burn off different McDonald’s menu items. For instance, a 160-pound person would have to run for 50 minutes to burn off a Big Mac. So…want fries with that?!

Students will

  • Calculate the number of calories burned per minute for different types of exercise and body weights
  • Correctly write units (e.g. calories, cal/min, etc.) and simplify equations using them
  • Calculate how long it would take to burn off menu items from McDonald’s
  • Discuss effects of posting calorie counts, and what might happen if exercise information were posted instead

Before you begin

Students should understand what a unit rate is; if they have experience calculating and using unit rates to solve problems, even better.

Common Core Standards

Content Standards
Mathematical Practices