Federal deficit and debt in the news

National Debt Clock, Avenue of the Americas, New York City

Congress has begun debating what should be included and what should be removed from the 2012 budget that President Obama submitted last week. The words debt and deficit are constantly in the news. Introduce your students to these concepts so that they can appreciate the important discussions that are happening right now in Washington ... and do some math.

This activity involves reading charts, making comparisons, computing percents and analyzing trends.


For members we have an editable Word doc and solutions.

deficit&debt.doc         deficit&debt-solutions.pdf

Population pyramids of Egypt

Pyramids of Giza

Egypt has been in the news lately as young people have demonstrated in Tahrir Square, demanded the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, and begun the reorganization of their country's government. News agencies have show population pyramids to illustrate the proportion of Egypt's population that is under stress and involved in these demonstrations.

in this timely investigation students study population pyramids to understand the social, health, and future predictions that can be gleaned from this kind of chart?

Population pyramids from United States, Haiti, and Japan are also examined to further demonstrate the implications of the chart's shape and swells. Population percent growth and the needs and trends for the future are considered and calculated.

Population-pyramid.doc             Population-pyramid.pdf

Census is complete and Apportionment begins

The 2010 U. S. Census is complete and state reapportionment is about to begin. The process of distributing the 435 Representatives appropriately to each state is a mathematically fascinating event. Engage your students in the calculation of the apportionment so that they will understand what only happens in the U.S. every ten years.

  • Students see the Priority formula An= P/√n*(n+1) and practice using it to determine which state should get the next Congressional seat.
  • Students learn what the ratio of voters to Representatives was originally intended to be and they calculate what that ratio has become.

apportionment.doc       apportionment.pdf

Welcome back to Cleveland Lebron

Lebron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to play basketball for the Miami Heat and to play with his friends, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Lebron just made his return to the area he grew up in and where he started his NBA career, but this time in a Miami Heat uniform. Oh the drama !

Brian asks students to compare the Heat with the Chicago Bulls who have the best single season winning percentage of all time. He asks students to calculate winning percentages and compare the salaries of the entire team to the salaries of these three athletes. Lots of good percent calculations and timely.

Lebron.doc         Lebron.pdf


Image drawn by Marisa Hopkins

Disney's animated movie, Tangled, came out in 2010. We've shown students some of the Brothers Grimm's original fairy tale along with giving them a glimpse at the physics involved in the animation of Rapunzel's hair. Ratios are needed to estimate the weight of our own hair given the weight of Rapunzel's 70 feet of hair. Number sense is our goal here. Can your students convert from meters to feet and figure out the length and weight of the world's longest haired woman?


For members we have an editable Word docx and solutions.

rapunzels-hair.docx    rapunzels-hair-solution.pdf

CCSS: 6.RP.A, 7.RP.A, 8.RP, HSF, HSN

Cholera in Haiti

On January 12th of this year, there was a tremendous, 7.0 magnitude, earthquake in Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed or injured and a million people became homeless. Then on November 5th, Hurricane Thomas hit Haiti. Huge amounts of rain caused flooding in the tent cities where earthquake survivors were living. Now cholera is devastating the population.

This is a tragic series of events to happen to an already poor and impoverished country. We've gathered some of the cholera data and offered it as a way of looking at the rate and spread of the disease in Haiti. This is a difficult subject and discretion is probably necessary in assigning this.

We also have an investigation on the Richter scale.

tragedy-in-haiti.doc        tragedy-in-haiti.pdf