Contestants on the game show Wheel of Fortune try to solve word puzzles by guessing missing letters. When they guess correctly, they make money…but there’s a catch! If they want to guess a vowel, they have to pay for the privilege: $250, to be exact. But is every vowel really worth the same?
In this lesson, students use ratios and percents to explore what would happen if Wheel of Fortune decided to charge prices for vowels based on how often they come up.
Students will
Collect data on vowel frequency in an episode of Wheel of Fortune
Create a bar graph representing the vowel distribution in the word puzzles
Use percents to develop a method of pricing vowels so their cost is representative of their frequency
Discuss alternate pricing schemes and their potential effects on the game
Before you begin
Students should know how to construct a simple bar graph from a table of data. They will also need to create ratios, convert them to percents, and calculate a given percent of a number. Students will be asked to construct a circle graph (pie chart). This could be used as a context for motivating their construction.
Is Wheel of Fortune rigged? Students use percents and probabilities to compare theoretical versus experimental probabilities, and explore whether the show is legit, or whether there might be something shady going on!
Topic:
Ratios and Proportional Relationships (RP), Statistics and Probability (SP)
Is it worth paying extra for a hybrid car? Students use proportional reasoning to determine how much hybrid owners save on gas, and how long it will take to make up the price difference.
Topic:
Expressions and Equations (EE), Ratios and Proportional Relationships (RP)
How should the winner of The Biggest Loser be chosen? Students compare pounds lost vs. percent lost, and analyze historical data to determine which method produces the fairest game.
Topic:
Quantities (Q), Ratios and Proportional Relationships (RP), Statistics and Probability (SP)
When you buy a concert ticket, where does your money go? Students use percents and proportional reasoning to describe how revenue from tickets is distributed among the various players in the concert game.
How much does it cost to drive at different speeds? Students use unit rates and proportions to explore how a car's fuel economy changes as it drives faster and faster.
Who should buy health insurance? Students use percents and expected value to explore the mathematics of health insurance from a variety of perspectives.
Topic:
Number System (NS), Ratios and Proportional Relationships (RP), Statistics and Probability (SP)
How do aspect ratios affect what you see on TV? Students use ratios to explore why the image doesn't always fit on the screen, and examine how letterboxing might affect their favorite movies.
Topic:
Geometry (G), Ratios and Proportional Relationships (RP)
How dangerous is texting and driving? Students use proportional reasoning to determine how far a car travels in the time it takes to send a message, and explore the consequences of distracted driving.
Topic:
Ratios and Proportional Relationships (RP), Circles (C)
How accurate are police speed guns? Students use rates and the Pythagorean Theorem to examine the accuracy of LiDAR guns used to catch speeding drivers.
Topic:
Expressions and Equations (EE), Geometry (G), Ratios and Proportional Relationships (RP)
Why do tires appear to spin backwards in some car commercials? Students apply unit rates and the formula for the circumference of a circle to determine what makes a spinning wheel sometimes look like it’s moving in the opposite direction of the car sitting on top of it.
Topic:
Geometry (G), Ratios and Proportional Relationships (RP)
Should people with small feet pay less for shoes? Students apply unit rates to calculate the cost per ounce for different sizes of Nike shoes, and use proportions to find out what would happen if Nike charged by weight.
Topic:
Ratios and Proportional Relationships (RP)
Sign In
Like the jacket, this lesson is for Members only.
Mathalicious lessons provide teachers with an opportunity to teach standards-based math through real-world topics that students care about.
How do the rules of an election affect who wins? Students calculate (as a percent) how much of the electoral and popular vote different presidential candidates have received, and add with integers to explore elections under possible alternative voting systems.
Topic:
Number System (NS), Ratios and Proportional Relationships (RP), Reasoning with Equations and Inequalities (REI)