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How is the homeless population changing around the country? At any given moment, there are roughly 500,000 experiencing homelessness in America. While New York City and Los Angeles have the largest homeless populations in the country, the cities address the problem in very different ways.

In this lesson, students write linear equations to model the homeless populations in New York City and Los Angeles and discuss what they can do to aid people experiencing homelessness in their communities.

Students will

  • Interpret data presented in graphs
  • Write a linear equation from real-world data and use it to make predictions

Before you begin

In a given school year, more than 1 million students will experience homelessness in America. Even if you don’t realize it, you may have a student whose family lacks a stable home. The purpose of this lesson is to explore issues related to homelessness in America, including rising rents and approaches cities can take to ensure affordable housing for their residents. Still, as responsible as this lesson tries to be, homelessness is an inherently difficult issue. Before teaching it, please consider how it might affect your students and be sure to approach it with compassion and sensitivity. (One specific way to do this is to avoid referring to people as “homeless” and instead use the phrase “experiencing homelessness.” This communicates that homelessness is not a personal failing but rather a societal condition.)

Common Core Standards

Content Standards
Mathematical Practices