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Cheetos are delicious, but also divisive. While some love the airy texture of the puffs, most prefer the rich flavor and sharp bite of the crunchy variety. But for a snack named “Cheetos,” the essential question seems to be: which one tastes cheesier?

In this lesson, students will use surface area and volume to come up with a way to quantify the cheesiness of a snack. Their model will tell them why one type of Cheeto tastes cheesier, and will help them design even cheesier snacks on their own!

Students will

  • Determine the number of crunchy Cheetos that are equivalent to one puffy Cheeto
  • Discuss differences between crunchy and puffy Cheetos
  • Model Cheetos using geometry, and quantify cheesiness using surface area and volume

Before you begin

Students should be comfortable calculating unit rates and using proportional reasoning, though this lesson can also be used to review these topics. More important is familiarity with the concepts of surface area and volume. It’s also helpful if students have seen the surface area and volume formulas for a cylinder, although this lesson can be used to introduce these formulas.

Common Core Standards

Content Standards
Mathematical Practices

Additional Materials

  • Cheetos (crunchy and puffy)
  • Rulers
  • String (optional)


Frito Lay, Chester the Cheetah