Lessons in Units

CCSS UnitsWhat 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How have temperatures changed around the world? Students compare current temperatures to historical averages, and add and subtract positive and negative numbers to explore how the climate has changed in various cities over time.

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.

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.

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.

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.