Linear Art Assignment

This week I started my grade 9 students on a project that I got from NCTM’s article The Algebra Artist, by Darin Beige. The task has students use Desmos to make a drawing using restrictions on domain and range to limit lines and inequalities to shade areas of the graph. Before starting the activity I had the students solving systems of equations through graphing and graphing systems of inequalities. We did a few linear programming exercises by hand and then with Desmos so the students could get familiar with the Desmos.

Here  is The linear Art AssignmentThe panda I created using Desmos

The students have one week to complete the assignment.

I created a Panda using Desmos to show my students. (If you use the browser and login to save your creation.)  It was helpful for them to see examples then they did some research online to get ideas on what they wanted to create.

Beige, Darin. “The Algebra Artist.” Mathematics Teacher 108.4 (2014): 258-65.

Slow Data Collection

Inspired by a Project Zero principal investigator, Shari Tishman, idea of ‘Slow Looking’, my students will participate in Slow Data Collection in preparation for our statistics unit. For the first semester my grade 9 students will collect data about the amount of water bottles we are saving by refilling cups and/or reusable bottles. I made a google form for the students to easily collect and record the data. The students self managed the groups to see who documents which of the five water fountains around campus. We will use this information in the second semester during our statistics unit as well as information on a trash audit that the school’s environmental club will be doing this fall.

This project is being conducted at Washington International School
Water fountain with counter. This project is being conducted at Washington International School

My goals for the project is for my students to have a better understanding of the limitations of data collection and how there are so many factors that come into play when doing a study. I also want them to problem solve through the process, make recommendations to the school community based of the water usage and be curious about other information we could collect in their environment. I am currently working on getting guest speakers from climate change to come in and speak to the students about their study.  I am really excited about the project and hope that it brings about a change in perspective of what statistics is to my students as well as being more aware of their own environmental impact.

Statistics lesson: Justin Bieber was the common denominator.

For my grade 12 class we reviewed the five statistical measures with the following activity. I found a website that releases the data for the top selling songs on iTunes for the past 24 hours, called Digital Sales Data.  We did the activity on September 3rd which was after Justin Bieber’s new single What do you mean? was released.

Outline of activity:

  • The students were in groups of 3-4 students and each group was given data of the top 25 selling song from a different country: USA, Finland, Australia, Malaysia, and Nigeria.
  • Each group had to find the 5 statistical measures and we compared as a group.

What was interesting was that Finland and Nigeria had similar types of numbers, The students were a little confused about if the units were in the thousands or just units as some of the data was so small. One student pointed out that Finland owns Spotify so we talked about the economies of the countries. We also talked about why the values were so different discussing the population of the countries and buying power. It would have been helpful if I had the countries’ population and GDP to compare.

Overall it was a good activity that brought in a global perspective and interesting to see what types of music are listened to elsewhere and helped the students stay focused and interested. We found that Justin Bieber was the top selling in all the countries. We also were able to talk about grouped data and deciding on appropriate class grouping ranges depending on the data given and discussed the standard deviation of each set.

Here is and example of the data from the USA and Finland.

iTunes data from September 3, 2015 Screenshot 2015-09-05 09.25.32