Category: Number Sense

Drill bit fractions

Act One:  Drill bits are measured by the diameter of the bit in inches. The drill bits below are ordered left to right in increasing size. The numerators in the fractions have been blacked out.  What could the numerators be?  Explain your…

Back to school activities

Who’s going back to school? – Students calculate the historical changes in U.S. population percentages of people who are going back to school and try to formulate reasons for these variations. 6.EE, 6.RP.3, 6.SP, 7.EE, 7.RP.3, 7.SP Does it pay to get…

Does it pay to get educated?

Updated! Why should students do well in school, graduate high school, or go on to college?  In this activity median earnings by various education levels are explored.  Students compare the earnings of a non-high school grad with workers who graduated…

So just print some more money!

            What’s the big deal with our deficit? Do we actually borrow money to cover our debt? If we do, imagine the interest charges? Help your students (and their families) understand the meaning and repercussions…

Labor Day 2019

Updated! What is this holiday about?  Are we celebrating the start of school?  New cars? The end of summer? In this short activity, students learn about the intended meaning of Labor Day as they read about its origin. For the…

Who’s going back to school?

Updated! Students look at the past and present populations of the U.S. and the past and present population of school attendees to calculate the percentage of the population that are enrolled in K-12 schools. They are asked to draw conclusions…

Really big shoe

Brian and his son were doing some shopping when he found this shoe.  Egad!  Could that be someone’s real shoe? In this activity student need to use a shoe size chart, patterns or linear modeling to try to figure out…

The cost of going back to school

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…

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’s the answer?

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…

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…

Louisiana

We recently watched the approach of Hurricane Barry and worried about the fate of Louisiana. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, what would another powerful hurricane do to this fragile state? What is it about Louisiana that causes so much…

How can Nike give away so much great stuff?

Worldwide Nike supports many teams and athletes.  They design, manufacture, and supply gear for almost every sport imaginable. How much are those give-aways worth?  Is the company going to go broke? Probably not.  Nike is huge. In this activity we…

California earthquakes and the Richter Scale

After a July 4th 6.4 magnitude earthquake, California experienced 7.1 magnitude quake two days later. Many more quakes and aftershocks are expected. The IRIS (Incorporated Research Institute of Seismology) Seismic Monitor will allow your class to visualize the most recent quakes and their…

How much pee is in this pool?

After chlorination, it has been hard to measure the quantity of pollutants in pool water.  A Canadian chemist, Xing-Fang Li, has found a marker for urine that chlorine doesn’t disguise. In this activity, students calculate volume of several pools, change that…