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 mathematical part, they look for patterns in the history of Labor Day dates. Students then use those observed patterns to predict future dates of the holiday.

A newly released nutritional and environmentally sustainable study shows that eating just one hot dog can take 36 minutes off your total healthy lifespan.

How many would you have to eat to lose a whole year of your lifetime? How much did Joey Chestnut loose in the 10 minutes of Nathan's annual contest?

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 educated? - Students compare the earning power for people who have invested time, effort, and often money in order to strengthen their education and learning. 4.OA.2, 5.NBT.5, 6.RP.3, 6.NS.3, 6.SP.3 6.SP.4, 6.SP.5, 7.SP.4, MP1, MP3

How much does it cost to send you back to school? - Students work together to create a back-to-school needs list; confer and research to estimate the cost of these items; tally and compare the whole class's estimations. The final question concerns the amount of time needed to work to earn enough for these costs. 4.OA.3, 4.NBT.3, 6.SP.3, 6.SP.5, 7.EE.3, MP5, HSF, HSA

On August 14th, Haiti was hit with a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

What does a 7.2 magnitude earthquake imply? What's a seismometer. What is the amplitude of a seismograph and what does it mean?

Use our Richter scale activity to introduce your students to logarithmic Richter magnitudes. Discuss linear versus exponential growth. You might also use our graph of Richter magnitudes at Desmos.com.

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

This cartoon was popular in 1812 when the Massachusetts governor, Elbridge Gerry, signed into law a redistricting plan designed to keep his party in control during the next election. The districts were so strangely delineated that people thought that the map looked like a salamander ... but this one was a Gerry-mander.

In this activity student first try to redistrict our pretend state in order to preserve the overall state's balance in its new districting plan. Then, students redistrict our pretend state in a way that insures that the minority party will win the state's votes.