Friends of the Library Book Sale task

The other day a friend of mine, who is a Friends of the Library board member, presented me this real life dilemma which might make for an interesting  group task.

Hey, Mary!

We’re getting ready for our Book Sale and we’ll be unpacking hardcover books stored in Hinckley & Schmidt water boxes. We want to display the books spine up on 8ft x 30in tables. I don’t know the dimensions of the box but I do know each box holds six 1-gallon plastic water bottles. The boxes are packed with most books laying flat, stacked on top of each other, with a few others standing upright in the remaining space.

My questions are:

  1. About how many books can we display spine up on each 8ft x 30in table
  2. Approximately how many boxes should I assign to each table for unpacking so I can fill the 8ft x 30in table


The Friends of the Library

In a way it reminds me of MAP’s Money Munchers task I did with my students some time ago. Various book sizes and thicknesses impact the number of books that can be placed in the box, just as various mattress sizes impact the number of dollar bills covering the area in the Money Munchers task.

When giving this task I plan to have on hand an empty 1 gallon container, a Hinckley & Schmidt box, and a sample hardcover book for students who need a visual aid. Rulers will be available should students ask for them.

What can I do to improve this task before I present it to the students? I’d love your thoughts and comments.


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