Does seeding really matter?

March Madness is the big 68 team college basketball tournament that takes over our TV viewing during the weekends of March. School and office friends are filling out brackets.  Engage your students in percents as they get excited about March Madness. Is getting a higher seed really an advantage?  Use 30 years of data to help determine for which seeds it makes sense to pick an upset.  Finally, students determine a general strategy for picking games in the first round.

Saint Patrick’s Day

green-riverGreen, green river - They're doing it again. In Chicago, the local plumbers union "dye" the Chicago River emerald green.  Students learn the meaning of PPM (parts per million) and  attempt to figure out how much dye is used to sufficiently color the river.

CCSS: 5.MD, 6.RP, 6.G, 7.RP, 7.G

ShamrockShake2016McDonald's seasonally serves its Shamrock Shake for Saint Patrick's Day. Add a little nutrition math to your celebration.  In this post we look at calories, carbohydrates, sugars, fats, and proteins to decide what would be left for our day's meal allotment after we had lunch and a Shamrock Shake at McDonald's.

CCSS: 6.SP, 6.RP, 7.SP

The perfect bracket

March Madness Men's and Women's Brackets

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

Sunday, March 11th, is Selection Sunday for the Men's March Madness Tournament.  Monday night, March 12th is the selection night for the Women's March Madness Tournament.  The March Madness bracket predictions can begin.

What are your chances of picking every game? How does the change from 64 to 65 to now, 68 teams in the field complicate things?  How many brackets would you need to fill out to pick every possibility?  How many reams of paper would you need to print all of those brackets?  Let’s do the math!   Also, check out the video below that explores your odds of picking all games in the tournament perfectly.

Pi Day is almost here!

Pi Second = March 14 @ 1:59:26

6 possible activities!

Celebrate π in your school and in your math class with activities that demonstrate how π was derived; visually show why π makes sense; show a surprising place where π is used; increase students ability to measure and long divide; applauds the talent of people who can memorize large strings of numbers; and lets students just have fun.

PiDay-ClassOpener - Puzzle to ponder with a surprising outcome.

 For members: PiDayClassOpener-solution.pdf

Killing bacteria

Use the need for cleanliness during flu season to engage your students.

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Does it really matter whether you kill 99.9% of the bacteria or 99.999% of the germs?

In this 3-act activity we've asked students to consider whether these claims about these two wipes' efficacy really make a difference.  We've supplied students with a list of bacteria counts on various surfaces and asked them to calculate how much of a difference these two different percents make in wiping out germs.

This is an excellent opportunity to deal with repeating decimals.  Thanks to Kyle Berry for sharing this image with us!

Movies and the upcoming Oscars

We have 11 activities for your Oscar week.

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.