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MathScape Project:
Looking Behind the Numbers

Content Strand:
Data Analysis

Teacher:
Amy Doherty

School:
South Middle School
Waltham, MA
Grade 8

40 minutes

Looking Behind the Numbers: This video lesson explores the first unit of MathScape, a curriculum designed to capture math in the human experience. Students examine the concepts of mean, median, mode and range through real life statistics. After a visit from the coach of the girls' basketball team, they work in groups ranking basketball players to choose the MVP. They formulate their thoughts by writing a letter and use mathematical statistics to persuade the coach why a certain player deserves the MVP award. Later, students are introduced to the concept of sample size by comparing data sets for individual groups against a data set for the entire class. Finally, students are presented with mystery data containing two measures of central tendency and their challenge is to find the data set for those measures. Students work in pairs to solve their challenge and follow with a class discussion of their solution strategies.


Middle Grades MATH Thematics:
The STEM Project: Trashsketball

Content Strand:
Data Analysis

Teacher:
Kelly Hankins

School:
Hayes Middle School,
Albuquerque,
NM
Grade 7

Project Director:
Jim Williamson

40 minutes

Trashsketball: In the MathThematics Curriculum math concepts are centered around themes that relate to children's lives. Basketball is the chosen theme for this lesson on data analysis. The class discusses basketball and the way in which points are scored as an introduction to a game of their own: Trashketball! Using wads of paper as a ball and the trash bin as a basket students rotate to different stations where they can score one, two, or three points. They tally their scores and once the whistle's blown students make a frequency chart with the data they have just collected. The teacher writes each person's total points on the board in a disorganized fashion. As a class they organize and display the Trashketball scores in a stem-and-leaf plot and a bar graph. Students analyze the data learning mathematical concepts such as mean, median, mode, range and cluster. In addition, the power of data displays is revealed to them as they see how the stem-and-leaf plot provides exact data whereas the bar graph does not. Afterwards, the class re-plays the game, only this time using the opposite hand. In pairs, students make their own stem-and-leaf plots identifying the statistical values previously learned as a class.