Lessons in Units

CCSS Units
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Joy to the World

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.

Topic: Interpreting Categorical and Quantitative Data (ID)

Distributive Properties

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.

Topic: Interpreting Categorical and Quantitative Data (ID)

Bookie Nights

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.

Topic: Number System (NS)
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Crop and Trade

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

Topic: Expressions and Equations (EE)
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How should pharmaceutical companies decide which drugs to develop? Students create linear and quadratic functions to explore how much pharmaceutical companies profit from different drugs and consider ways to incentivize companies to prioritize medications that are valuable to society.

Topic: Building Functions (BF), Creating Equations (CED), Interpreting Functions (IF), Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (LE)


How were free states and slave states represented in Congress? In this lesson, students use census data and fraction multiplication to explore the effects of the Three-Fifths Compromise on the balance of power between free and slave states in early America.

Topic: Number System (NS)

Let Down Your Hair

How fast does hair grow? Students analyze a scatterplot, create a line of best fit, and interpret slope as the rate of hair growth over time.

Topic: Functions (F), Statistics and Probability (SP)
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The Sound of Silence

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.

Topic: Building Functions (BF), Interpreting Functions (IF)


What transformations do smartphones use? In this lesson, students identify and categorize the different transformations that occur when a user manipulates a smartphone screen. They also use on-screen coordinates to calculate the results of zooming within an application and to decide whether ponying up for a larger screen is worth it.

Topic: Geometry (G)
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As the World Turns (MS)

How fast is the Earth spinning? Students use unit rates to find the speed at which the planet rotates along the Equator, Tropic of Cancer, and Arctic Circle.

Topic: Expressions and Equations (EE), Ratios and Proportional Relationships (RP)
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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.

Topic: Geometry (G)
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My Two Left Feet

Should shoe companies sell left and right shoes separately? Students collect survey and measurement data, construct bar graphs, and discuss distributions and measures of central tendency in order to figure out whether shoe companies should necessarily be selling their products in same-size pairs.

Topic: Statistics and Probability (SP)

F-Stop in the Name of Love

How do camera settings affect the final image, and how can we use aperture and shutter speed to take better pictures? Students use the area of circles and fractions to explore how to properly expose a picture, and how photographers use depth of field and motion blur to get the perfect shot.

Topic: Geometry (G)
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Belly of the Beast

Were megalodons godfathers of the sea? Students model the bodies of different sharks using cylinders, and explore how the volume of a cylinder changes when its dimensions change. They learn that the megalodon was a massive ocean beast, but that its size may ultimately have led to its downfall.

Topic: Geometry (G)

Tricks of the Tray'd

What's the best way to design a food tray? Students calculate the volumes of rectangular prisms and use that information to design a cafeteria tray that looks good and holds a balanced meal.

Topic: Geometry (G)