Lessons in Units

CCSS UnitsDo social networks like Facebook make us more connected? Students create a quadratic function to model the number of possible connections as a network grows, and consider the consequences of relying on Facebook for news and information.

How long does it take to burn off food from McDonald's? Students use unit rates and proportional reasoning to determine how long they'd have to exercise to burn off different McDonald's menu items.

How should we tip in a restaurant? Students use mental math, percents, and proportional reasoning to compare different approaches to tipping.

How much do different professionals earn in a year? Students use rates and ratio reasoning to compare how much a teacher, the President, and LeBron James earn...and to compare how much value the create.

How has the pace of technology changed over time? Students create timelines of major technological milestones and calculate the time between major events using absolute value and operations on integers.

How hard is it to pay off municipal fines? Students use linear equations and solve linear systems to examine what happens when people are unable to pay small municipal fines. They also discuss what can happen to the most financially vulnerable citizens when cities rely heavily on fines for revenue.

How much of what we see is advertising? Students decompose irregular shapes to find how much of their visual field is occupied by advertising in real life and online.

How has the human population changed over time? Students build an exponential model for population growth and use it to make predictions about the future of our planet.

How should the winner of *The Biggest Loser* be chosen? Students compare pounds lost vs. percent lost, and analyze historical data to determine which method produces the fairest game.

How much Halloween candy should you eat? Students interpret graphs to compare the marginal enjoyment and total enjoyment of two siblings feasting on piles of Halloween candy and figure out how much pleasure you get (or don't) from eating more and more.

Could Inspector Javert have survived the fall? Students use quadratic models to determine how high the bridge was in *Les Misérables*, and explore the maximum height from which someone can safely jump.

How do you create simple video games? Students apply geometric transformations to build (and play) their own games.

How can you become popular on Instagram? Students use linear regression models and correlation coefficients to evaluate whether having more followers, posts, and hashtags actually make pictures more popular on Instagram.

What do squares reveal about the universe? Students learn about the Pythagoreans and explore how to square numbers and find square roots, confront the weirdness of irrational numbers, and discover what happens when people’s most fundamental beliefs are thrown into doubt.

How do we view and create objects in 3D? Using MRI images, students study the connection between objects and their cross sections to understand 3D printing, its benefits, and its risks.