Math- Systems of Equations Vacation Project & Dear Data

Systems of Equations- Vacation Project

This week in math we are wrapping up our unit on systems of equations, or finding out when two lines intersect. How is this useful in everyday life, you might ask? We actually use systems of equations ALL THE TIME to compare costs and prices of various things, for example cell phone pricing, rates of services, etc. Students are wrapping up the unit by doing a Vacation Project where they compare two trips to destinations they choose, factoring out the total cost of round trip airfare and hotel costs per night. They are exploring how many nights they plan to stay on their vacation and when the two trips will cost the same, using a visual graph, an equation and a written summary of their findings. Once they determine the pricing options for various nights, they choose which trip they prefer to go on and for how many nights and write their reasoning for their decision. This project is solidifying their understanding of solving equations and uses the (SOE) methods they’ve been learning in math recently.

Here are some student examples:

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Dear Data

Students also completed their Round 5 Dear Data cards last week. Category topics were: worries, greetings/farewells, and questions! They continue to do such a good job of using their artistic expression and data visualization skills to create beautiful and complex cards.  Here are some examples:


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Idea Incubator

Science this year is wrapping up with a creative project called, Idea Incubator. This project is an eight-week session that requires students to come up with a unique invention or innovative idea that has the potential to positively influence the world. Students are working through many iterations to clarify their ideas, improve on their prototypes, and perfect their proposals. They build prototypes ranging from coded apps and websites to 3D printed models.  They will then pitch their idea to a panel of entrepreneurs and scientists at the annual Idea Incubator Business Breakfast. Throughout this unit, students worked through the Engineering Design Cycle, including using prototyping and feedback to improve on their ideas

This week, students examined Poorly Designed Products for homework, coming up with ideas to improve current products they find frustrating. One student had an idea to create new sounds (including a silent option) on the microwave. Another suggested a toaster with a slow rise, instead of a scary “pop” when the toast is done.  In class we took a look at User-Centered Design. Students tried to get “in the head” of another user and design a product for that person, given their needs and wants. Next week, students will be researching their ideas for any competing products or apps and will then narrow their ideas down to two, and will then do Focus Group Testing on those two ideas and present their data to make the case for their final design.

The Idea Incubator Breakfast will take place at Seattle Girls’ School on Tuesday, June 12th from 8:45-10:15 AM. We are recruiting entrepreneurs, engineers, and business leaders to participate.  The students will be pitching their unique inventions, apps, websites, business plans, and innovative ideas to you, looking for feedback and support (just like theTV show, “Shark Tank”). Please let Ms. D know if you can attend.

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Finance Unit in Math

The past couple weeks we have been learning about finances. Students have been very interested in this useful topic asking questions such as:

  • How are interest rates set?
  • Why do different people pay taxes?
  • Where does a bank keep your money?
  • How do loans work?

We have spent last two weeks learning: why financial literacy is important to young people (especially women), simple vs. compound interest, debit vs. credit, how to write checks, how to budget, how to use formulas in Google Sheets, and about the different types of taxes. We even had a visit last week from Jennifer Thomsen, Reese’s mom and a financial planner, about her career and how she supports others with their finances. She gave the students tips for saving and an overview of budgeting.

Next week we launch into our Budget Project where students are given a character (gender, race & education) and that character’s yearly salary and they will have to pay their taxes and then figure out a monthly budget for their person. They will put to use what they are learning in Google Sheets to build formulas and help them with the many calculations that come with budgeting!

Museum of Flight Field Trip #2

On our most recent trip to the Museum of Flight students were put through several team challenges. They did a simulation to Mars through the Challenger Learning Course, created space suits for marshmallows simulating pressure in space, and coded Lego Mindstorm robots through a challenge course. It was a fun day!