For all of us mathematically-inclined (or crazy) people out there, I was thinking about a new exercise today for my students. It was an exercise in junk food. Specifically — cookies.

Now, everyone has a favorite cookie. It could be chocolate chip, Oreos, oatmeal, or those delightfully addictive mint cookies that the Girl Scouts tempt us with every year. (Mint cookies and I are very familiarly acquainted.)

What if each student, choosing their favorite cookie from a predetermined list, took the dimensions and tried to find out how many cookies could fit into a specific area. How much area was taken up by the cookies? How many cookies were used? And how much of the original area was left? Here’s where the calculus bit comes in. Integrals are used to find the area under a curve. (We knew calculus had to show up eventually.)

How’s that for incentive?

Personally, I can’t try the cookie thing, because I’m still trying to lose weight. And it’s going slowly, I’m afraid. So is the exercise. But some of my other goals are going well.

For instance, my planning is still going forward, as is my writing. My Nano word count is just over 20,000. I have no idea what my page count is, but I’m sure it’s inching toward my 80 pages for this quarter.

Not so good on the fried chicken front. I bought some last night on my way home from work. Once I got there, I went to bed. I was utterly exhausted, and I let the guys figure out whatever they wanted for dinner.

I haven’t ordered any pizza though, so that’s still good.

Fighting the junk food craving is a day to day adventure. But I sure wish the cravings would go away.

See you on Sunday!