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Gotham Gazette Grant      << Back to all Grant Winners

Teenagers, Education, and New York City

Subject: Math

Grade Level: Ninth

Materials: Laptop computers with Internet access, TI 83 graphing calculators, LCD projector, and overhead projector

About: Students read articles from the Gotham Gazette and related websites. They answer questions about what they have read. When applicable, they work in groups to create their own graphs using data from the articles. Each lesson concludes with a journal entry pertaining to the topics addressed in the articles.

Students chose articles, graph data, and write an essay about the article and their graph.

Students often ask why they study mathematics since it doesn't feel relevant. This project helps students see how math is used in their daily lives.

Students discover real-life applications of mathematics.
Students gain knowledge about Internet resources they can use to conduct research.
Students learn about current events in New York City.
Students explore various graphical representations of data and learn how to create these graphs.
Students increase their reading comprehension and writing skills.

"The NYC Budget Game" is a fun way to introduce students the Gotham Gazette website. They adjust the city's budget for various services relevant to their daily lives and see the impact on the total budget.
The section of this page titled "Math Counts" talks about new ways of teaching mathematics in NYC. This article serves as a stepping point for a discussion about how math is currently taught.
The link to the article "Survey of High School Students Finds Significant Drop in Drug and Alcohol Use" was found on a Gotham Gazette webpage. It uses data from the student's peers and addresses a topic they are all interested in. They graph the data, learn about percents, and discuss how surveys are conducted.
The link to this report, "Summary of Vital Statistics 2005: The City of New York," is from http://gothamgazette.com/article/health/20070122/9/2081/. This report shows many graphs of vital statistics in NYC. Students can use the report to learn about graphs and charts.
Students use this website to find information about how math is used in New York City.

Students organize and consolidate their mathematical thinking through communication.
Grade: 9
Subject: Math
Students recognize and use connections among mathematical ideas.
Grade: 9
Subject: Math
Students recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics.
Grade: 9
Subject: Math
Students create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas.
Grade: 9
Subject: Math
Students use representations to model and interpret physical, social, and mathematical phenomena.
Grade: 9
Subject: Math
Students collect, organize, display, and analyze data.
Grade: 9
Subject: Math
Students make predictions that are based upon data analysis.
Grade: 9
Subject: Math
Students understand and apply concepts of probability.
Grade: 9
Subject: Math

Day 1: What is the Gotham Gazette and how do we use it to learn about mathematics?
Students learn about New York City's budget.
Students learn about direct and indirect variation.
Students learn how to use the Internet to conduct research.
Laptop computers
LCD projector
As a "do now," students write down their definition of "budget" and take a guess about how much money in New York City is budgeted for education.
While student are working on the "do now," the teacher passes out laptop computers.
We discuss some student answers and learn the dictionary definition of "budget."
The teacher show sthe students the Budget Game using the LCD projector.
Students go to the Budget Game website (http://gothamgazette.com/budgetgame/).
After spending some time adjusting numbers, students write down their reactions to the game. They answer questions about what happens when they raise or lower an amount.
We conclude by discussing their reactions and how well they think money is budgeted in NYC.
Students select four city services and discuss how they would allocate money using a million-dollar budget.
The teacher walks around the room and talks to students as they make their adjustments.

Day 2: How is mathematics taught in New York City and how has it changed from the teaching of the past?
Students learn about New York State and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards.
Students practice reading comprehension and content area writing.
Laptop computers
Students read the article "A Truth Over Teaching Math" on http://gothamgazette.com/article/Education/20060926/6/1983.
We have a discusscion about how math used to be taught and how it is taught today.
Students explore the links on the Gotham Gazette webpage.
Students learn about standards and see how they apply to their education.
Students solve several mathematics problems.
We discuss how students solve the problems and how they feel about "old math" and "new math."
Students write about how they learn math.
Students practice math problems similar to ones from class.
The teacher reads the journal entries and check homework the next day.

Day 3: What are statistics and how do we use them?
Students learn about how surveys are conducted.
Students learn about percents.
Students learn about bar graphs.
Laptop computers
Graph paper
TI 83 Ggaphing calculator
Have the students read the article "Survey of High School Students Finds Significant Drop in Drug and Alcohol Use" at http://nytimes.com/2007/03/21/nyregion/21survey.html/partner/nytrss/?_r=1&oref=slogin.
As they read, students wanswer several written questions about the statistics in the article.
We have a discussion about the topics and the statistics in the articles.
We take a survey of the class. The teacher ask where the students live and makes a list of the data collected.
We use the data to make a bar graph.
Using the graphing calculators, we find out the percentages of students in the class who live in each borough.
We use the data to make predictions about the rest of the school.
Students write about their predictions for the rest of the school and how accurate those predictions are.
The teacher collect students' graphs.

Day 4: What are different ways we can represent data?
Students learn about graphical representations of data, such as pie charts, line graphs, and histograms.
Students learn how to read graphs.
Students learn how to graph data.
Laptop computers
LCD projector
Graph paper
Colorful cardstock paper
Students skim the Annual Summary of Vital Statistics (http://nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/vs/2005sum.pdf).
The teacher points out several different graphs.
Students figure out how to read the graphs.
We choose a topic from the report that is relevant to the students' lives.
Students work in groups. Each group creates a different graph using the same data.
Each group hands in one graphical representation of the data.
Groups present their version of the data.
This lesson may take more than one class period.
The teacher usse a rubric to grade each group's presentation and graph.

Day 5: How is mathematics used in New York City?
Students conduct Internet research.
Students learn about mathematics in the real world.
Laptop computers
Students use the Gotham Gazette website to find an article that shows how math is used in the real world.
Students write down the link to the article.
Students create a graph of their choice using the data from the article.
Students write a three-paragraph essay answering the following questions: What is the article about? Why did you chose it? How does the article use math or show how math is used?
Finish the essay and graph.
The teacher reads the students' essays and their graphs to check for understanding.

Marisa Laks


Louis D. Brandeis High School
145 W. 84th St.
New York, NY 10024

Marisa Laks has a B.S. in Sociology from Cornell University and is currently working towards her Masters in Mathematics Education at CUNY City College. She has been teaching math at Louis D. Brandeis High School in Manhattan for the past two years. Recently, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Mathematics Education Trust awarded Marisa a grant to incorporate cross-content material into her math classes.

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