Lessons in Units

CCSS UnitsCould 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 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.

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.

What does Earth really look like? Students approximate the areas of different landmasses by decomposing them into triangles and rectangles. They do this for two different maps, and debate whether or not the map you use affects how you see — both literally and figuratively — the world.

In which Major League Baseball stadium is it hardest to hit a home run? Students find the roots and maxima of quadratic functions to model the trajectory of a potential home-run ball.

How long does it take to burn off food from McDonald's? Students use unit rates and proportional reasoning to determine how long they'd have to exercise to burn off different McDonald's menu items.

Do taller sprinters have an unfair advantage? Students use proportions to find out what would happen if Olympic races were organized by height.

In basketball, should you ever foul at the buzzer? Students use probabilities to determine when the defense should foul...and when they should *not*.

How have video game console speeds changed over time? Students write an exponential function based on the Atari 2600 and Moore's Law, and see whether the model was correct for subsequent video game consoles.

How much does Domino's charge for pizza? Students use linear functions — slope, y-intercept, and equations — to explore how much the famous pizzas really cost.

Who should buy health insurance? Students use percents and expected value to explore the mathematics of health insurance from a variety of perspectives.

Do social networks like Facebook make us more connected? Students create a quadratic function to model the number of possible connections as a network grows, and consider the consequences of relying on Facebook for news and information.