Consumer Spending 2016

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Graph from Wolfram Alpha

We spend a lot of money as consumers in the U.S. In this activity we look at historical data to see if there are any patterns in our spending.  How does our holiday spending show up in these graphs?  What accounts for spikes or drops in spending?  What patterns do you notice?  Which patterns will likely continue and which patterns won't?   Let the class see, think, wonder and discuss in this timely activity.

$10,000 a week or $10 million all at once?

Check out the video below:

Would you rather have $10,000 a week or $10 million all at once?

What kinds of things do we need to think about or factor in when making this decision? If you had to advise the winner of this drawing, what information would you need to help you determine what they should choose?

How does $10,000 compare to $10 million? Why is that important to consider in this problem?

How do life-expectancies, taxes and investments factor into this problem?

Black Friday, football, and giving

canstruction-ny-2010-Construction This is a 3-act activity about an annual display of creativity, engineering, and design as artists contribute cans of food for the shelters and food banks of their city.  Students analyze, look for patterns, discuss solutions, and finally quantify the number of cans. 4.MD.3, 6.EE.1, 5.MD.5, 7.G.6, HSF.LE.2, MP.2, MP.3, MP.7

Black Friday again (updated!) - Students calculate savings in Black-Friday-Deals1dollars and percents as they analyze this year's sales. 6.RP.3 , 7.EE.2, 7.EE3

Consumer Spending - Students look for patterns in an consumer-spending.jpghistorical view of the times of year tha we spend money. They look for spikes and drops in spending and hypothesize which trends will repeat and which movements are a one-time event. 6.SP.5, 8.F.5, HSS.IC.6, HSS.ID.3

Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade, 2016


As we get ready for next week's holiday, students can study a map of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, describe, measure and hypothesize why this route was chosen and then calculate how long each band will be marching and at what time they will arrive at the finish.

Students even approximate the volume of two parade balloons including Angry Bird, Red, and from two year's ago, the Wizard of Oz balloon. Very fun and timely with lots of Common Core standards addressed.  Try the whole activity or any of the different tasks in the activity with your class.

Opening Friday, Fantastic Beasts – What did it cost to make?

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In 2001, J.K.Rowling (the author of the Harry Potter series) wrote Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The movie of this book will open on November 18th, 2016.  This will be the first in a series of three movies that are meant to take place 70 years before the Harry Potter series began.

"Beasts" is produced by David Heyman, the same producer that created the other Potter movies.

In this activity students use the average cost of making a Harry Potter movie to estimate the cost of creating the "Beasts" movie. The task is open, in that it asks students to analyze central tendency, using either median, mode or mean.  Which is the best predictor of the cost of making this new movie?  

Shrinking Toblerone

New York Times photo

New York Times photo - Credit Darren Staples/Reuters 

They changed it.  That is so not fair ... or is it? You can check out a video news story on the delicious shrinking Toblerone bar here.

Two sizes of Toblerone bars are now configured differently.  How much did they lop off? How much did the price per gram of chocolate change? Is the price per gram still the same, if not how might you adjust the price of the products to make it fair?