Lessons in Units

CCSS UnitsHow has the pace of technology changed over time? Students create timelines of major technological milestones and calculate the time between major events using absolute value and operations on integers.

How hard is it 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.

How much of what we see is advertising? Students decompose irregular shapes to find how much of their visual field is occupied by advertising in real life and online.

How has the human population changed over time? Students build an exponential model for population growth and use it to make predictions about the future of our planet.

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.

Could Inspector Javert have survived the fall? Students use quadratic models to determine how high the bridge was in *Les Misérables*, and explore the maximum height from which someone can safely jump.

How do you create simple video games? Students apply geometric transformations to build (and play) their own games.

How can you become popular on Instagram? Students use linear regression models and correlation coefficients to evaluate whether having more followers, posts, and hashtags actually make pictures more popular on Instagram.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.