Lessons in Units

CCSS UnitsIs simpler always better? Students evaluate expressions with variables to compare the reading levels of famous speeches in American history and debate the virtues of complexity vs. popularity.

Is there an upside to having a bad day? Students use positive integers, negative integers, and absolute value to describe the emotions of a day and discuss the important role that different emotions play in our lives.

Should the U.S. get rid of the penny? Students operate with decimals to calculate the total costs to produce different U.S. coins. Students debate eliminating the penny and then consider a world with no physical money at all.

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.

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 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.

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.

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 should grades be calculated? Students use averages and weighted means to examine some different grading schemes and decide what other factors ought to be considered when teachers assign grades.

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.

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.