NBA Finals, 2016

Celebrate the NBA and NBA Finals by involving your students in interpreting what can be deduced from graphical representations.  In this activity students consider scatter plots, circle graphs, bar graphs, Venn Diagrams and the concept of mean. To start the activity check out the Infographic below.  What do you notice?  What does it make you think?  What questions do you have? How does the average age of  NBA champion teams compare to the league's average team age?  How can we use this information to help us predict future NBA champs?

Infographic created by Paul Van Slembrouck, @ptvan at Original data compiled by Idris Raja. A big thank you to each of you for sharing this!

Continue the exploring NBA championship data in our handout by exploring the dominance of a select few teams in NBA history.  Students work the data, data representations and statistics.  For which kind of observations are circle graphs or bar graphs most useful?  Who has won the most NBA titles NBA history?  Lots of math!

Longest NHL overtime games in history

Game one of the 2013 Stanley Cup between the Bruins and Blackhawks went into 3 overtimes.  People stayed up way too late to watch the conclusion.  The teams played 112 minutes and eight seconds of game time.  The game went from about 7:15 central time to midnight central time.  Did you know that Stanley Cup Playoff matches can last a really long time?

Memorial Day, 2016

This Monday Americans will celebrate Memorial Day.  Who are we honoring?  How did the holiday come about?  Is Memorial Day always on May 30th?

Students learn a little about the history of the holiday, analyze the possibilities for when it is celebrated, and study the incredible numbers of deaths and casualties that have been caused by war. While trying to make conclusions and observations about the numbers, they can't help but appreciate the terrible cost of war and the gift that those that serve in the military have given us and our country.

Flag Art


A little ratio art might be a fun way to get ready for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.  In this activity students measure; create whole number ratios for the official U.S. flag; decide how our artistic flags will be different from the official flag; make stars from regular pentagons, and finally create a flag design in honor of Memorial Day.

Pixar versus DreamWorks


Animated films are a billion dollar industry.  The two biggest producers of animated films are DreamWorks and Pixar.  The two have been going head to head for more than ten years now. So how do they stack up to each other?  Which company is making more money on their films?  According to critics, which company makes the better films?

Conflict is created as students have to decide which animated movie company, DreamWorks or Pixar, has been more successful.  Depending on grade level, students might compare the two companies using box plots or bar graphs (this is a golden opportunity to get into box plots). For example, middle and high school students can use the data to compare movie ratings, box office profits or box office gross earnings with box plots.  Elementary students can compare top movies from each company using bar graphs.  In the solution materials you can find several different box plots and bar graphs that students might create to compare DreamWorks and Pixar.  Students may also come up with other ideas for comparing the two companies. 

How long until they collide?

Show the beginning of the video. Stop the video at about 39 seconds. Take guesses from students.

Have kids work individually on the problem for a few minutes or more, followed by partner work.  You might project the image below for students so they have a clean view of the problem.