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Suggested Citation: Colburn, C. Losito, M. (2021). Supreme Court Handshakes. In T. Busk (Ed.), Math Circle Activity Database. American Institute of Mathematics. https://mathcircles.org/activity/

Supreme Court Handshakes

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  • Activity Description
  • Topics Covered
  • Session Styles
  • Mathematical Practices
Developed as part of the Math Circles of Inquiry project, this session is a good introduction to the 8th grade or Algebra Math curriculum using inquiry based instruction. Students are asked to use their problem solving skills in order to determine the relationship between the number of Supreme Court justices and handshakes that occur when each pair shakes hands exactly once. Students will begin exploring with simpler numbers and work up to creating an algebraic expression to represent the function. This lesson allows for multiple representations by using a table, list, circle diagram, matrix and manipulatives.

Activity Guide

This guide looks at the activity in detail and goes into the underlying math.

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