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Square Dancing

What do squares reveal about the universe? Students learn about the Pythagoreans and explore how to square numbers and find square roots, confront the weirdness of irrational numbers, and discover what happens when people’s most fundamental beliefs are thrown into doubt.

Topic: Expressions and Equations (EE), Number System (NS)

Layer Strands On Me

How do we view and create objects in 3D? Using MRI images, students study the connection between objects and their cross sections to understand 3D printing, its benefits, and its risks.

Topic: Geometry (G)

By Design

Why do manmade objects look the way they do? Students analyze the symmetry of objects, use geometric reflections to construct symmetrical images of their own, and debate the nature of beauty and perfection.

Topic: Geometry (G)
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Advertising Aged

How much of what you see is advertising? Students use decomposition to calculate the areas of irregularly shaped billboards from Times Square in 1938 and 2015 and describe how much of the visual field is occupied by advertisements.

Topic: Geometry (G), Number and Operations -- Fractions (NF)

Watch Your Step

What should teacher salaries be based on? Students will use and compare linear functions to analyze how teacher pay is currently determined, and decide whether they would give merit-based pay an A+ or failing marks.

Topic: Functions (F)

Wage War

How much should companies pay their employees? Students graph and solve systems of linear equations in order to examine the effects of wage levels on labor and consumer markets, and they discuss the possible pros and cons of increasing the minimum wage.

Topic: Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (LE), Reasoning with Equations and Inequalities (REI)
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Joy to the World

What makes for happy countries? Students interpret lines of best fit and correlation coefficients to determine what types of policy changes are most likely to positively impact a country’s well-being.

Topic: Interpreting Categorical and Quantitative Data (ID)
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Good Cop, Bad Cop

How should cities address excessive force by police? Students compare two distributions of complaints against police officers. They analyze the fraction of complaints that officers are responsible for and evaluate the effectiveness of policy proposals in each scenario.

Topic: Interpreting Categorical and Quantitative Data (ID)

Downside Up

Is there an upside to negative feelings? Students use integers to compare good and bad days and use absolute value to explore what happens when we reinterpret negative moments in a more positive light.

Topic: Number System (NS)
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Distributive Properties

Have income distributions in the U.S. improved over time? Students compare percentages of total income earned by different subgroups of the working population and decide whether or not the “American Dream” is equally achievable by all Americans.

Topic: Interpreting Categorical and Quantitative Data (ID)
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Bookie Nights

What's the best way to bet on the Super Bowl? Students add and subtract positive and negative numbers to determine which bets have been the most effective and consider the best ways to win big on the big game.

Topic: Number System (NS)

Crop and Trade

Which crops should farmers grow? Students use linear relationships and proportional reasoning to explore comparative advantage and the risks and benefits of trade.

Topic: Expressions and Equations (EE)

Axle Roads

How do vehicles turn? In this lesson, students use the geometry of circles to understand how we get from point A to point B when the path isn’t a straight one.

Topic: Modeling with Geometry (MG)
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How should pharmaceutical companies decide what to develop? In this lesson, students use linear and quadratic functions to explore how much pharmaceutical companies expect to make from different drugs, and discuss ways to incentivize companies to develop medications that are more valuable to society.

Topic: Building Functions (BF), Creating Equations (CED), Interpreting Functions (IF), Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (LE)
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You're So Fined

How long does it take to pay off municipal fines? Students use linear equations and solve linear systems to examine what happens when people are unable to pay small municipal fines. They also discuss what can happen to the most financially vulnerable citizens when cities rely heavily on fines for revenue.

Topic: Expressions and Equations (EE)