As It Happens

Keurig K-Cups help with Grade 6 math problems

K-Cups have been criticized for their negative effect on the environment. A Thunder Bay teacher is trying to counteract this by using the coffee pods to teach his grade six students math.
Thunder Bay teacher Peter Cameron has incorporated k-cups into his math curriculum. (Photo courtesy of Peter Cameron)

A Thunder Bay teacher is repurposing Keurig K-Cup by using them to teach math to his grade six students.

The single-use coffee pods have been criticized for their effect on the environment and currently aren't recyclable.

Peter Cameron and his students at St. Elizabeth School acquired around 800 K-Cups from a local shelter. Not wanting to throw them out, they decided to bring the pods back to their classroom.

"At that point, we weren't really sure what we were going to do with them," he tells As it Happens co-host Carol Off. "But, we decided we should try to repurpose them as a lesson in environmental stewardship."

Cameron's class began by trying to figure out the volume of all the K-Cups. Then, they "started doing math of all different sorts," including building pyramids and calculating the surface area of the pods.

Peter Cameron uses K-Cups to teach students about various math problems. (Photo courtesy of Peter Cameron)

Cameron says the project has gotten students more interested in math.

"They're fully engaged because this is something that is tangible and relevant to them," he said. "A lot of the times math is done in a textbook...and students have a hard time actually grasping certain concepts."

Due to the success of the project, Cameron has created a resource guide for other teachers to use called K Cups 4 Classrooms. He says the project has been picked up by 12 schools in North America.

Cameron is hopeful that the project will "encourage other teachers and classes to save K-Cups."


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