Given a television of a certain size, where's the best place to put the couch? This lesson uses right triangle trigonometry and a rational function to explore the percent of your visual field that is occupied by the area of a television.
What's an acceptable dating range? Students use linear equations and linear inequalities to examine the May-December romance, and ask whether the Half Plus Seven rule of thumb is a good one.
How much should people pay for donuts? Students use linear, rational, and piecewise functions to describe the total and average costs of an order at Carpe Donut.
What's the ideal size for a soda can? Students use the formulas for surface area and volume of a cylinder to design different cans, calculate their cost of production, and find the can that uses the least material to contain a standard 12 ounces of liquid.
When you buy a bigger TV, how much more do you really get? Students use the Pythagorean Theorem and proportional reasoning to investigate the relationship between the diagonal length, aspect ratio, and screen area of a TV.
How fast is the Earth spinning? Students use rates, arc length, and trigonometric ratios to determine how fast the planet is spinning at different latitudes.
How high can a ladder safely reach? Students combine the federal guideline for ladder safety with the Pythagorean Theorem (middle school) or trigonometric ratios (high school) to explore how high you can really climb.
How can you make money in a pyramid scheme? Students learn about how pyramid schemes work (and how they fail), and use geometric sequences to model the exponential growth of a pyramid scheme over time.
How much do you really pay when you use a credit card? Students develop an exponential growth model to determine how much an item really ends up costing when purchased on credit.
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 much can you trust your memory? Students construct and compare linear and exponential models to explore how much a memory degrades each time it's remembered.
How much should you bid in an auction? Students use probability, expected value, and polynomial functions to develop a profit-maximizing bidding strategy.
How has the iPod depreciated over time? Students compare linear and exponential decay, as well as explore how various products have depreciated and what might account for those differences.
How can we improve our calendar? Students examine some other ways to keep track of dates, and use number sense and function concepts to convert between different calendars.
What’s the best strategy for creating a March Madness bracket? Students use probability to discover that it’s basically impossible to correctly predict every game in the tournament. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop people from trying.
Should you buy a camera lens with vibration reduction? Students interpret graphs and use right triangle trigonometry to explore the relationship between focal length, viewing angle, and blurriness.
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 has the urban population changed over time, and will we all eventually live in cities? Students use recursive rules along with linear and exponential models to explore how America's urban areas have been growing over the last 200 years.
When should NFL teams go for it on fourth down? Students use quadratic functions to develop a model of expected points. They then apply this model to determine when teams should punt the ball, and more importantly, when they shouldn’t.
How much should Nintendo charge for the Wii U? Students use linear functions to explore demand for the Wii U console and Nintendo's per-unit profit from each sale. They use those functions to create a quadratic model for Nintendo's total profit and determine the profit-maximizing price for the console.
Which size pizza should you order? Students apply the area of a circle formula to write linear and quadratic formulas that measure how much of a pizza is actually pizza, and how much is crust.
How much more do graduates earn, and is college worth the cost? Students use systems of linear equations to compare different educational options.
How have temperatures changed around the world? Students use trigonometric functions to model annual temperature changes at different locations around the globe and explore how the climate has changed in various cities over time.
How do noise-canceling headphones work? In this lesson, students use transformations of trigonometric functions to explore how sound waves can interfere with one another, and how noise-canceling headphones use incoming sounds to figure out how to produce that sweet, sweet silence.
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.
How has the human population changed over time? Students develop exponential models to analyze human population growth and explore the impact this growth will have in areas around the world.
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.
Why are so many Americans dying from opiate overdoses? Students use exponential decay and rational functions to understand why addicted patients seek more and stronger opioids to alleviate their pain.
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.
Why hasn't everyone already died of a contagion? And, if vampires exist, shouldn't we all be sucking blood by now? Students model the exponential growth of a contagion and use logarithms and finite geometric series to determine the time needed for a disease to infect the entire population.
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.
In basketball, should you ever foul at the buzzer? Students use probabilities to determine when the defense should foul...and when they should not.