 Show an aluminum can. Discuss what students know
about such cans.
 Of what are they made? [Aluminum.]
 What products are sold in similar cans? [Soda, other soft drinks, juice, motor oil.]
 What other products are made of aluminum? [Siding for houses,
rain gutters, silver paint, mirrors, packaging (i.e., aluminum foil),
CD's, and the hood of a Model T Ford.]
 Why is aluminum an important metal? [It's relatively inexpensive, malleable,
and lightweight.]

Distribute the Aluminum Cans activity sheet.
Allow time for students to record their own numbers, and poll
eight classmates. The data should be recorded in the chart on the
activity sheet. A sample chart is shown below.
Name  Number of Aluminum Cans Used Yesterday 
Me  1 
Sarah  2 
Jose  0 
Wally  3 
Helene  2 
Sachin  1 
Grace  3 
Billy  2 
Noel  2 
Next, each student should create a line plot or bar graph of his
or her data. (Or, you may ask half the class to create each type of
graph. Then, a rich discussion can occur about the differences between
the graphs and the types of information that each shows.) A sample of
each type is shown below; the line plot is on the left, and the bar
graph is on the right:
Have each student look at the line plot and write several things
that the graph shows. Students should note the range of numbers on
their graphs. Review, as needed, how to figure the mean (average). Have
students compute the mean of their sets of data. They may check their
calculations by using the calculator.
Discuss ways to compare an individual's can use in a day with
the typical American's use of 1500 cans per year (Javna, 1990). Have
students compute peryear use and compare it with 1500. They should
also work with the group mean, figure the number of can used per year
on the basis of this number, and compare the number per year with 1500.
Students should use calculators and may check each other's work.
Students should discuss some things they learned from the activity. Discussion questions could include:
 Were they surprised at their own or the mean for the people they polled?
 What did they learn about the mean as compared with individual numbers in their data sets?
Have students work individually or in small groups to discuss and
write plans for conserving aluminum. A committee should post examples
of the plans; alternatively, have students report the plans to the
class.