Lessons in Units

CCSS UnitsIs higher education a good investment? Students write and solve systems of linear equations to determine how long it would take to pay off various degrees and discuss the pros and cons of different educational paths.

How dangerous are heat and humidity? Students use polynomial functions to explore the heat index and discuss the life-and-death consequences that cities around the world will face in the coming years.

How big is the White House? Students build scale models of the White House, compare scaling in one vs. two vs. three dimensions and design their ideal version of the president’s house.

How much should you trust online ratings? Students use mean, median, and mode to analyze the trustworthiness of 5-star ratings system and suggest ways to make them more reliable.

What does a fair wealth distribution look like? Students use mean, median, histograms, and box-and-whisker plots to compare how wealth is distributed in different countries and debate the pros and cons of their ideal distribution.

How does the what we see affect our happiness? Students explore the concept of the jen ratio – the ratio of positive to negative observations in our daily lives – and use it to discuss how the content we consume and the things we observe influence our experience of the world.

Should you ever order a personal-sized pizza from Pizza Hut? Students calculate circle areas to compare the unit costs of different sized pizzas, find the percent of pizza that is tasty inside vs. crust, and debate whether it’s ever a good idea to order a personal-sized pizza from Pizza Hut.

Should people with small feet pay less for shoes? Students use unit rates to calculate how much different-sized shoes cost per ounce and debate the fairest way for manufacturers to charge for their shoes.

How long does it take to donate to Locks of Love? Students write and solve linear equations to determine how long it would take to donate a wig’s worth of hair and discuss ways they can support peers with conditions like Leukemia and alopecia.

What’s the fairest way to tip at a restaurant? Students use percents to calculate tips for different restaurant bills and debate the best ways to compensate waiters and waitresses.

Why do different jobs pay so differently? Students use unit rates to compare how much different professions make per year/day/hour and discuss ways to possibly equate compensation with social contribution.

How has the pace of human innovation changed over time? Students order and subtract integers to explore major milestones in human history and debate whether humans are innovating faster than we can keep up with the consequences.

What’s the best way to play roulette? Students use probabilities and odds to analyze roulette payouts and debate the optimal strategy for winning the game (including not playing at all).

How should students be graded? Students use percent change to evaluate how changes to a grading policy would affect students and discuss the fairest way to balance mastery with effort.

How much does age matter in a relationship? Students use a system of linear inequalities to explore the popular dating rule-of-thumb, ‘half plus seven’, and debate how important age -- and other factors -- are in healthy relationships.