Topic: Mathematical Modeling

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Mathematical Practices
Mathematical Practices
  • MP1 - Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. (82)
  • MP2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (47)
  • MP3 - Construct viable arguments and critique others' reasoning. (56)
  • MP4 - Model with mathematics. (54)
  • MP5 - Use appropriate tools strategically. (39)
  • MP6 - Attend to precision. (36)
  • MP7 - Look for and make use of structure. (68)
  • MP8 - Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. (61)

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.

I Walk the Line


Your regular commute begins at your house and ends at your office at the corner of 5th street and 6th avenue. You have been making this trip for years, but you are the restless (or adventurous) type, and you try to take a different route each day. At some point, you start to wonder how long it will take you to try all of the routes.

Oh, did I mention that you have to avoid the zombies?

Bubbling Cauldrons


Place our numbers into the cauldrons in ascending order – you can choose which cauldron each one goes in. However, if two numbers in one cauldron add up to a third number in that same cauldron, they bubble up and cause an explosion! This means that all the numbers, leave the cauldrons, and you must start all over again.

Our goal is to find the largest number we can place in our cauldrons without them exploding… do you think you’re up for this daunting task?

Humans, Zombies, & Other Problems Crossing the River


A town faces an epidemic of zombies! Luckily, the virus has just started to spread and the infected are able to stave off their hunger for human brains… for now. In fact, they’re willing to work alongside the remaining humans to help them get across a river to safety. Can you get all the humans and zombies across safely?

Prejudiced Polygons


We adapt “Parable of the Polygons” (Vi Hart and Nicky Case), an online simulation on diversity and segregation, into an appropriate MTC session. The session is interactive, and offers multiple layers of content depending on the age and comfort level of students with conversations on social issues. These levels include: (1) an exercise in fractions, (2) an introduction to game theory, (3) an invitation for students to think about the benefits of diverse groups, and (4) a discussion of how individual biases, no matter how small, can lead to detrimental societal effects like segregation. Triangles and Squares live together in...