In this lesson, students use percents to describe how much of a ticket’s price goes to various parties -- artist, venue, brokers, etc. -- and debate the fairest ways to price and sell event tickets.
How hard is it to steal second base in baseball? Students use the Pythagorean Theorem and proportions to determine whether a runner will successfully beat the catcher's throw.
How do the rules of an election affect who wins? Students calculate (as a percent) how much of the electoral and popular vote different presidential candidates have received, and add with integers to explore elections under possible alternative voting systems.
Why do certain pairs of notes sound better than others? Students use ratios and fraction division to explore what makes two notes sound good or bad when played together.
Is Wheel of Fortune rigged? Students use percents and probabilities to compare theoretical versus experimental probabilities, and explore whether the show is legit, or whether there might be something shady going on!
How many calories does a body burn? Students interpret and apply the formula for resting metabolic rate (RMR) in order to learn about how calories consumed from food, calories burned from exercise, and calories burned automatically contribute to a body's weight.
Should you ever buy an extended warranty? Students use percents and expected value to determine whether product warranties are a good deal.
How much of your life do you spend doing different activities? Students use proportional reasoning and unit rates to calculate how much of their total lifespan they can expect to spend sleeping, eating, and working...and discuss how they'd like to spend the time that's left over.
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.
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.
Do taller sprinters have an unfair advantage? Students use proportions to find out what would happen if Olympic races were organized by height.
How much does it cost to drive at different speeds? Students use unit rates and proportions to explore how a car's fuel economy changes as it drives faster and faster.
Who should buy health insurance? Students use percents and expected value to explore the mathematics of health insurance from a variety of perspectives.
How do filmmakers create slow-motion and time-lapse videos? Students combine a camera's frame rate, a video player's frame rate, and proportional reasoning to explore movie magic.
How do aspect ratios affect what you see on TV? Students use ratios to explore why the image doesn't always fit on the screen, and examine how letterboxing might affect their favorite movies.
How much should vowels cost on Wheel of Fortune? Students use ratios and percents to explore what would happen if Wheel of Fortune charged prices for vowels based on how often they come up.
What size ice cubes should you put in your drink? Students use surface area, volume, and rates to explore the relationship between the size of ice cubes and how good they are at doing their job: chilling.
Should fast food restaurants rewrite their menus in terms of exercise? Students write and evaluate expressions to determine how long it takes to burn off foods from McDonald’s and debate the pros and cons of including this information on fast food menus.
How dangerous is texting and driving? Students use proportional reasoning to determine how far a car travels in the time it takes to text. Students discuss the dangers of distracted driving and generate strategies for helping drivers and passengers stay safe.
How accurate are police speed guns? Students use rates and the Pythagorean Theorem to examine the accuracy of LiDAR guns used to catch speeding drivers.
How much should people pay for cable? Students interpret scatterplots and calculate the costs and revenues for consumers and providers under both the bundled and à la carte pricing schemes to determine which would be better for U.S. companies and customers.
Are coupons always a good deal? Students reason with percents and proportions to evaluate enticing coupons and debate whether retailers should be allowed to raise the price of items in order to then put them on sale.
Why do tires appear to spin backwards in some car commercials? Students apply unit rates and the formula for the circumference of a circle to determine what makes a spinning wheel sometimes look like it’s moving in the opposite direction of the car sitting on top of it.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
Mathalicious lessons provide teachers with an opportunity to teach standards-based math through real-world topics that students care about.
How have video game consoles changed over time? Students create exponential models to predict the speed of video game processors over time, compare their predictions to observed speeds, and consider the consequences as digital simulations become increasingly lifelike.
In basketball, should you ever foul at the buzzer? Students use probabilities to determine when the defense should foul...and when they should not.