Category: Data and probability

Guacamole for Cinco de Mayo – buy it or make it at home?

Students have the guac ingredient list and the price of each ingredient in their usual quantities … like a bottle of lime juice. But we don’t need the whole bottle to make our dip. Students calculate the cost of the various ingredients and decide if making it is more expensive than buying it from Chipotle.

Earth Day 2021

Thursday, April 22nd is Earth Day – We have 15 interesting activities that support recycling, conserving resources, noticing climate change and protecting our planet. The shape of Louisiana – At what rate is the state loosing land and wetland?  Why is this happening?  Will…

Which car, hybrid or electric, should I buy?

Students create equations for finding the break-even points of hybrid and electric vehicles by mileage and years of ownership.  They work with systems of equations to find the number of years or number of miles where the cost of these cars are the same.

Greatest March Madness program

Gonzaga just won the finals of this year’s March Madness tournament. Still, which NCAA teams have had the best basketball programs over the years.  Students decide which stats count towards the “Greatest March Madness Program”. Once students decide their “best program ever,” challenge them use a different criteria than they originally used.

Man paid in 500 pounds of greasy pennies!

In this 3-act activity, students learn about the story, watch a PowerPoint presentation about the issue, and try to calculate the amount of money in this pile. Copper pennies, zinc pennies, metric to standard conversions, and more.

Spring and Easter posts

5 timely activities that help mark Spring and Easter. Dyeing eggs, approximating number of Peeps sold, counting backwards to find planting dates, reading a pie chart on candy sales, and solid or hollow giant chocolate bunny. Enjoy!


This activity is a investigation intended to get students and teachers to loosen up a little and appreciate how just considering a situation might lead you to a very reasonable approximation.
Too often students think that there is only one answer that is right and that the method for approaching that solution is also limited to the “correct” approach. Surely this fear of experimenting and guessing leads to math anxieties and the fear to reason and experiment.

Does seeding really matter?

 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.

The Perfect Bracket

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.