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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.


MathScape Project:
String Shapes & Shaping Up

Content Strand:
Geometry

Teacher:
Retella Jones

School:
Rogers-Herr Middle School
Durham, NC
Grade 6

Project Director:
Susan Jannsen

40 minutes

String Shapes & Shaping Up The MathScape curriculum empowers middle school children with the use of manipulatives, hands-on activities, and investigations that push kids beyond identification of geometric shapes to thinking critically about their geometric properties and relationships amongst those properties. In this lesson, students are beginning to explore the properties of sides and angles in quadrilaterals. In the first activity, they are given clues that describe properties of geometric shapes. Working together in small groups, they use a loop of ribbon pulled tight to create different shapes. They adjust the sides and angles of the ribbon shape to form figures that match the properties in their clue. Students then partner up to play the Side-Angle Game, which is played with 2 stacks of cards - one consists of clues about sides, the other gives clues about angles. Players pick a card from each stack and put the clues together to draw shapes that meet both properties. Then it's back to group-work with ribbons in the Animated Shape Game. Here students standing in groups of four each hold a point in the ribbon to form a shape. They are given a clue as to the properties of another shape they are to make and must decide who is going to move where to make that shape. The lesson demonstrates students exploring options, questioning themselves and others, and communicating their strategies with mathematical vocabulary.