Lessons in Units

CCSS UnitsWhy hasn't everyone already died of a contagion? And, if vampires exist, shouldn't we all be sucking blood by now? Students model the exponential growth of a contagion and use logarithms and finite geometric series to determine the time needed for a disease to infect the entire population. They'll also informally prove that vampires can't be real.

How many different shoes can you design on NIKEiD? Students use the Fundamental Counting Principle to calculate how many color combinations are possible for the popular Nike Free Run running shoe, and also explore the "paralysis-by-analysis" that can come from too much choice.

How should speeding tickets be calculated? Students use linear equations to explore how police officers determine speeding fines...and whether tickets are calculated fairly.

How does life expectancy affect how you live your life? Students use proportions to determine what life expectancy must have been in the past in order for the phrase "30 is the new 20" to be accurate, and explore how life might change as life expectancy changes.

Are there numbers hidden in nature? Students use the Fibonacci Sequence and Golden Ratio to uncover the mathematical mysteries of the universe.

How does the media affect our happiness? Students explore the concept of the jen ratio – the ratio of positive to negative observations in our daily lives – and use it to discuss how the media influences our experience of the world.

How much can you trust your memory? Students construct and compare linear and exponential models to explore how much a memory degrades each time it's remembered.

What's a healthy weight? Students evaluate the Body Mass Index (BMI) formula for several celebrities, and discuss whether BMI is always a good measure of health.

How do filmmakers create slow-motion and time-lapse videos? Students combine a camera's frame rate, a video player's frame rate, and proportional reasoning to explore movie magic.

How much should people pay for donuts? Students use linear, rational, and piecewise functions to describe the total and average costs of an order at Carpe Donut.

Is it worth paying extra for a hybrid car? Students use proportional reasoning to determine how much hybrid owners save on gas, and how long it will take to make up the price difference.

Which is better: crunchy or puffy Cheetos? Students calculate the surface area : volume ratio for each snack to determine which one tastes cheesier.

How many calories does a body burn? Students interpret and apply the formula for resting metabolic rate (RMR) in order to learn about how calories consumed from food, calories burned from exercise, and calories burned automatically contribute to a body's weight.

In basketball, which shot should you take? Students use probability and expected value to determine how much 3-point and 2-point shots are really "worth" to different NBA players.

What are the chances that we'll communicate with aliens? Students use fraction multiplication to explore the Drake Equation, the formula astronomers use to estimate the number of intelligent civilizations with whom we might communicate.