Topic: Mathematical Modeling

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Mathematical Practices
Mathematical Practices
  • MP1 - Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. (1)
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Hungry for Change: Food Deserts in CT


In this lesson, we are tasked with determining a location for a new supermarket to address a possible “food desert” problem in Glastonbury. You will use these diagram to guide your analysis along with tools in Desmos and Geogebra. To qualify as “low access” in urban areas, at least 500 people or 33% of the population must live more than 1 mile from the nearest large grocery store. In rural areas, at least 500 people or 33% of the population must live more than 10 miles from the nearest large grocery store.

Racial Profiling


To investigate situations in the real world, we sometimes create a mathematical model. A mathematical model is a simplified version of the real world that allows us to understand the real world a little better. Over time we can change this model so that it gets closer and closer to the real world. Today we are going to create a mathematical model that represents a police officer pulling over a car randomly to try and gain an understanding of a police officer conducting a traffic stop. Our essential question is “Do police officers disproportionately pull over Black, Hispanic, or minority...

Balance Beans


If you start with some beans on a seesaw and you’re given certain additional beans to place on the seesaw, can you do it so the seesaw balances?

In this activity, students start by trying to solve various challenges involving different arrangements of beans on the seesaw and then design their own challenges. Next, they try to predict which arrangements will make the seesaw balance and which ones won’t (and why!).

Mathematical Magic for Muggles


Presented are several easy-to-perform feats that suggest supernatural powers such as telepathy, “seeing fingers,” predicting the future, photographic memory, etc. Each trick uses simple mathematical ideas that allow information to flow effortlessly and sneakily, among them simple, efficient “coding” parity and other invariants symmetry probability One can approach these activities in many ways. At first, you may want to figure out HOW to do a trick. Then, you want to know WHY it works. Finally, you should strive to understand REALLY WHY it works: is there a simple theme or principle behind your possibly complex explanation? Look for simple and...

Intergenerational Wealth


Students will gather data on median household incomes from three towns across Connecticut (including their own town) and will calculate potential future wealth using exponential modeling. Students will compare outcomes of these models and discover factors that impact a household’s ability to accumulate and transfer wealth. Students will understand the complexity and interconnectivity of social issues. Note that this lesson is closer to a 1-week mini-unit, but that teachers may choose certain sections to focus on for a smaller 1-2 day exploration.

Mondrian Art Puzzles


You’re Mondrian’s mathematical boss. Instead of allowing Mondrian to randomly draw rectangles and colors -you lay out requirements: 1) Mondrian must cover an N by N canvas entirely with rectangles. 2) Every rectangle in the painting must have different dimensions. 3) Mondrian must use as few colors as possible, and rectangles with the same color cannot touch one another.

Under these rules, Mondrian must try to minimize his score. A painting’s score is the area of its largest rectangle minus the area of its smallest rectangle.