The cost of going back to school

School-gear

Back to school spending is huge and students might not appreciate what it costs to send them back to, essentially, their job of learning.  In this activity students decide what equipment and supplies are necessary, estimate how much that will all cost, confer with groups or partners to refine their lists, and then research to find out more accurately how much it will probably cost to send them back to school.  This activity could be used for students in upper elementary school all the way to high school.  It offers an opportunity for kids to get estimating, researching, reasoning, calculating and communication skills honed for the coming year.

S’mores

No joke. Saturday was National S'more Day.

Thanks to Maggie Hefferman, Newton, MA educator, for the idea of this post.

To help you celebrate this strange new holiday, we've asked students to do a little math to help quantify what is reasonable.

The activity: Smores.pdf

What’s the answer?

Image by Twitter user @pjmdoll.

Math doesn't usually create a buzz on Twitter.  This past week this post did just that.  People argued online about whether the answer was 16 or 1 and proceeded to insult each other's intelligence in doing so. Use our write-up to bring your students into the discussion and see how varied their reactions and conclusions are?  Enjoy! This is a current event!

Are original movies better than their sequels?

We've gathered some data on movie ratings and their sequels and asked students to analyze the data, decide on some analysis and debate (with their mathematical data) which are better ... the original movies or their sequels.

Students see what they can conclude from various types of graphs and consider what size random sampling of movies and their sequels is an adequate, representative population of movies.  This is a very open ended activity that will allow 6th or 7th graders to conduct data analysis at one level: measures of central tendency & variability, box plots,histograms ect. While high school students might work with greater sophistication,

Bears Ears revisited

Clicking on this image will show it larger in a new window.

There is some beautiful land in Utah that was changed last year from federally protected land to Utah overseen land.  The buttes of Bears Ears (shown above) and the surrounding territory contain over 100,000 archaeological sites and are sacred land to many American Tribes.

Ed Robinson, the Utah state director of the Bureau of Land Management, says that these changes will allow for off-road vehicles, hunting, shooting, fishing and other recreational uses.

Do you think that recreation was the point of this change?  Was this sacred land needed to allow for population expansion, recreation, or what?  Let your students examine the data and make their own conclusions.