By Eve Lipton
High School Math Teacher
January 14, 2019
In algebra classes, students explore simple questions of the relationships between quantities. These projects give them the opportunity to use what they are learning in a real-world situation of their own choosing. One student investigates the relationship between screen time and studying, another is spurred by her biology class to investigate the relationship between height and arm span, while a third student studies commuting and traffic. All the girls are learning to collect, analyze, and interpret data in context, gaining tools that they can use in future life. Their basic understanding of probability and data analysis will make them good consumers of numeric information, from sports to advertisements.
In statistics class, students use more advanced tools to run experiments and analyze data. Again, the choice of topic is left to the students, who have the freedom to choose any topic about which they feel passionate, using their knowledge of regression, data analysis, and experimental design, to explore their interests. Students began the year using their knowledge of variables to create their own college rankings, each student ranking schools based on variables that were important to her. Later projects explore how photos affect people’s perceptions of animal testing (biology), perceptions of race and gender bias among students (social justice), the role of height in sports scores, and even “who is more to blame for the fact that I am short – my mother or my father?” (genetics).
In our classes, students see the power of mathematics in action. Choosing an interesting topic, working through the math, and presenting results requires the girls to use what they are learning in other classes and outside of school. The more they use mathematics in real life, the more they will be able to use mathematics to answer complicated and interesting questions.
- Forest Ridge Blog