Lesson 6 Towers and Cylinders Solidify Understanding

Learning Focus

Analyze contexts to identify the key features of an inverse variation.

What do I look for to claim that a relationship is an inverse variation in a table, a graph, or an equation?

Open Up the Math: Launch, Explore, Discuss

Mateo’s little sister, Maria, is building towers out of cubes. To vary the height of the towers, she makes the base bigger or smaller in area. She has cubes and wonders how many towers she can build. She is trying to answer this question experimentally, but Mateo thinks he can help her out by listing all possible combinations of tower height as a function of the area of the base.


List all possible combinations of tower height and area of the base that Maria can make with her cubes, then sketch a graph of this relationship.

Possible tower combinations:

a blank coordinate plane xy

Maria’s tower problem reminds Mateo of some of the work he has done in chemistry class measuring liquids with cylindrical beakers. For small amounts of liquid, he has noticed that narrower cylinders work better, since the markings on the side of the beaker are farther apart than they are on fatter beakers, allowing for more precise measurements. Mateo recalls a recent experiment in which he needed to measure out of liquid and how he had tried wider beakers trying to get a very precise measurement for his experiment.


How would Mateo’s graph of the relationship between height of the liquid and area of the base of the cylinder compare to Maria’s graph representing her towers?

Mateo would like to examine the relationship between the height of liquid in a cylinder and the radius of the base. He wonders if this is also an inverse variation.


Complete this table, graph, and equation for Mateo’s relationship between the height of liquid in a cylinder and the radius of the base for of liquid. (Recall: The volume formula for a cylinder is . Hint: What form of this equation would make the work of filling out the table more efficient?)






a blank coordinate plane xy


Is the relationship given by the representations in problem 3 an inverse variation? What is similar and what is different between the way the height of the liquid varies with relationship to the independent variable, area, or radius, as described in problems 2 and 3?


Modify the table you created in problem 3 to be a relationship between the quantities of liquid in a cylinder and the of the base of the cylinder for of liquid. Is this new relationship an inverse relationship? Why or why not?



Ready for More?

Why is it not sufficient evidence to say that a graph represents an inverse variation by observing characteristic trends, such as noting that as the input quantity gets large, the output quantity approaches , and as the input quantity approaches , the output quantity approaches infinity? Write a convincing argument explaining why this is not sufficient to make a claim that the relationship between the input and output quantities is an inverse variation.


The volume formulas for the volume of a right rectangular prism, , and for a right cylinder, , can both be rewritten in the form , where

This form reveals

To find an inverse or direct variation relationship,

Lesson Summary

In this lesson, we continued to explore inverse variation functions in geometric contexts and found that we may need to strategically choose the quantities related by a function in order to reveal a potential inverse variation relationship. We also learned to be careful when examining the shape of a graph as potentially displaying an inverse function relationship.



What does it mean to have a / chance?

Probability is the measure of how likely an event will occur. Probabilities are written as fractions or decimals from to , or as percentages from to .

Write not possible, unlikely, as likely as not, likely, or certain to describe each event. The following scale might help you think about your answers.

a probability tableNotPossibleUnlikelyAs likelyas notLikelyCertain0%50%100%Events with a 0%probability neverhappen.Events with a 50%probability have thesame chance ofhappening or not.Events with a100% probabilityalways happen.


You were once years old.


You have taken four tests in math this term and have earned scores of , , , and . You have done your homework and studied. You will earn a score above on today’s test.


Next week will have three Mondays.


Solve for . Show your steps and check your solution.