Valentine’s activities

sweethearts-candyWhich Sweet Heart candies are the best deal? - Students decide which quantity of Sweet Heart candies is the best deal.  Ratio tables, unit ratios, devising convincing arguments.

A parametric heart ... with loveExcelParametricHeart - Students use unit triangles and manually calculate sine and cosine of π/2, π, 3π/2, and 2π as they try to graph this great-looking, curvy heart using parametric equations.  We also have them create it using Excel, on a graphing calculator and with online graphing tools.

Year of the Goat


Chinese New Year begins on Thursday, February 19th. This will be the year of the Wooden Goat.  The year name is a combination of 10 Heavenly Stems and 12 Earthly Branches creating a sequence of year names that repeat every 60 years. (Don't tell your students this number.)

Students explore the least common multiple of two cycles without ever hearing the term LCM.  They become a little more aware of Chinese culture and the major significance of this annual event, while they “do the math”.

Which Sweet Hearts are the Best Deal?

 I have been doing a little shopping for Sweet Heart Candies. I came across these three deals online.  Which should I select? 

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 4.14.44 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 4.13.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 4.13.08 PM

In this activity students determine which package of Necco Sweet Heart Candies is the best deal.  Students are then asked to convince us using multiple methods or through tables or graphs.  

President’s Pay

Monday, February 16th, is Presidents Day.  We honor presidents, veterans, purple heart recipients and sell cars.  Is there more to Presidents Day?  Students can learn a little of the history of the day while they check out how much various presidents have earned and try to create a graph of this very strange salary schedule ... no cost of living increases ... ever.

Then students learn a little about the Consumer Price Index as they calculate the value of those salaries in today's dollars.

The Consumer Price Index can help us compare the salary of past presidents like Washington and Lincoln with presidents like Bush and Obama.  How does Obama's salary (or Bush's) compare to the salaries of past presidents? Does the current president deserve a raise?  Student's also consider how much money they will make when they eventually become president.  Technology: Consider our Desmos graphing calculator for this lesson.  The data is graphed and ready to be analyzed and modeled.  Or discuss Presidential Pay over time using the interactive graphs at the bottom of this post.

Super Bowl ads and scientific notation


Newton teacher, Matt Timmins gave us this timely activity which would be great to use on the day after the Super Bowl. Enjoy!

Students practice using scientific notation as they calculate the cost of Super Bowl commercials. After working with these incredible costs, students get to express their opinions about the ads and decide who the marketing was geared towards.