Is simpler always better? The rapper Jay-Z once described how he “dumbed down for my audience to double my dollars.” Indeed, a recent analysis found that the average top-rated pop song is written at a third-grade reading level.

In this lesson, students evaluate expressions with variables to compare the reading levels of famous speeches in American history and debate the virtues of complexity vs. popularity.

Students will

  • Evaluate expressions at specific values of their variables

Before you begin

Students will evaluate a formula with variables; they do not necessarily need prior experience working with variables.

Common Core Standards

Content Standards
Mathematical Practices