Lessons in Units

CCSS UnitsWhat’s the ideal size of a soda can? Students create rational functions to explore the relationship between volume, surface area, and cost to determine the optimal size of a soda can.

How much of what we see is advertising? Students decompose irregular polygons into triangles and rectangles, find their areas to estimate the fraction of a scene that’s advertising, and discuss the pros and cons of living in an ad-free world.

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.

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 much is Domino’s really charging for pizza? Students use slope, y-intercept, and linear equations to explore the costs of different-sized pizzas at Domino’s and debate whether the pizza chain should be more transparent in its pricing.

What secrets are hidden in squares? Students use concrete models to explore square numbers and square roots and confront the philosophical and moral questions posed by the existence of irrational numbers.

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.

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.

Have income distributions in the U.S. improved over time? Students compare percentages of total income earned by different subgroups of the working population and decide whether or not the “American Dream” is equally achievable by all Americans.

What's the best way to bet on the Super Bowl? Students add and subtract positive and negative numbers to determine which bets have been the most effective and consider the best ways to win big on the big game.

Which crops should farmers grow? Students use linear relationships and proportional reasoning to explore comparative advantage and the risks and benefits of trade.