Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them


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In 2001, J.K.Rowling (the author of the Harry Potter series) wrote Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Next year 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" will be produced by David Heyman, the same producer that created the Potter movies. In this activity students use the average cost of a Harry Potter movie to estimate the cost of creating a "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?  As an extension students make box plots and analyze the interquartile values to understand outliers.  This is an interesting set of data, with an outlier and a mode that may be the most representative measure of the set. Enjoy the Beasts!

Huge Key Lime pie

On a cold and snowy day in Boston, two chefs created a huge Key Lime pie to remind the frozen people of the Northeast how tasty and warm the Keys of Florida are.

After you show this movie to your students, ask them what they wonder about this huge pie and what they would like to figure out.

Supposedly the huge pie served 1,000 commuters but our figuring suggests something else. This is a Yummy activity about multiples, proportions, volume and reasoning.

Is this a leap year?


Will we have a 29th of February this year?  How can you tell?

Students work with a flow chart to deduce what years are going to be leap years.  They learn about the exact measurement of a solar year and how our Gregorian calendar needs to be adjusted to align our calendar with the sun's rotation.



My dog, Jorge, wearing his coat on a cold and windy day.

When the weather person talks about wind chill did you ever wonder how they calculate that number?  In this activity students use the National Weather System chart to gauge wind chill, examine the patterns that correlate increasing wind and/or decreasing temperatures, use wind chill numbers to estimate possible wind and temperature factors, and generally become familiar with this sort of interpolation and calculation.  Also check out windchill calculator, which you can use to quickly find the windchill for a given temperature and wind speed.  

Movies and the upcoming Oscars


We've got 10 Oscar and movie activities.

Highest Grossing Movies - Let your students develop their own ideas about compounded percent change while they have the opportunity to speak about the upcoming Academy Awards show. Worldwide box office income is compared for the top ten grossing movies of all time. Is total gross the most appropriate way to judge the popularity of a movie?  How does inflation and increasing ticket prices come into play? Inflation rates are used to let students calculate how the money of 1997 compares to the money of 2013. Students see for themselves what exponential growth means.

Presidents Day, Mardi Gras, and Chinese New Year

1pres1President's Pay - Monday, February 16th is Presidents Day. Students learn a little about the holiday as they use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate "today's value" of the only 6 salaries that Presidents have ever earned ... relative value of salaries, step graphs and more.

MardiGras-masksMardi Gras - Tuesday, February 17, 2015, will be the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of the season of Lent.  Mardi Gras is the last hoorah and is celebrated throughout the world with feasting, partying, and general indulgence.  In New Orleans revelers throw and collect purple, green, and gold beads. Students get a chance to examine the monetary and environmental cost of this bead exuberance with our unit pricing and recycling activity.