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Seeking shelter   thumbnail
What factors influence homelessness in a city? Local leaders want to recruit high-paying jobs and to ensure their communities remain affordable to the people living there, and these goals can present a challenge.

In this lesson, students interpret linear equations and trend lines to describe how median income, average rent, and rates of homelessness have changed in the past two decades in various U.S. cities and discuss what they can do to aid people experiencing homelessness in their communities.

Students will

  • Describe a line-of-best fit as a line which is drawn through data points to show a long-term trend
  • Interpret a linear equation in a real-world context

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