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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans
Best Fit Line

Project URL:  http://teachersnetwork.org/teachnet-lab/unhs/best fitline.htm 

Purpose of the project:
This unit combines mathematics and technology to teach students how to find the line of best fit for a set of data, and to find the correlation coefficient for a set of data.

Major emphasis is placed on process instead of results. Having the right answer is great only when it is combined with a clear understanding of the materials, and also when students are able to create connections to other topics in the subject.

How it works:
This unit is comprised of three sections:
1.  In the first section, the teacher will lead the students through the process of determining "best fit line".  Graphing calculators will be used.

2.  In the second section, students will work cooperatively in groups of three to study a set of data. They will find the equation of the line that best fits the data, and find the correlation coefficient.

3.  In the third section, students will access websites with data on chemical processes in Antarctica and volcanic activity.  They will actively apply their new knowledge to conduct a study, justifying their study with mathematical analysis.

Standards addressed:
Students will be able to:

1. Interpret representations of data, compare distributions of data, and critique conclusions.

2. Use a graphing calculator to represent and analyze functions and their graphs.

3.  Use computer technology (Internet) as a source of information for research; analyze and integrate data, facts, and ideas to communicate information.

Computer Applications:
TI-83 graphing calculator, Internet access, word processing program

The Students:
The students were all 9th graders of mixed ability. Students met for about six days to complete the project, working both in the classroom and in the computer lab. The project can be adapted to any age. The higher the grade, the more work can be done in terms of analysis and predictions.

Overall Value:
This project will help students understand that mathematics and boring statistics formulas can really help us in our everyday lives. Students working on the project will also experience increased self esteem, because they will be able to take an active part in their learning process.  The use of cooperative groups will involve students of every ability level in the completion of the project.  My goal is to teach mathematics with a 360 degrees open view. It is when the “whole picture” is clear that it is worth going into details and seeing the “little things”.

This unit also contains sample problems, to be completed in-class or for homework.  You may choose different websites containing real-life data, tailored to your own students' interests.  Prior knowledge of mean, median and mode is required.

About The Teacher

Francesco Ianni teaches mathematics at University Neighborhood High School, located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His goal, as a new teacher, is to show students that mathematics is all around us and not only in math textbooks.

He believes students today are afraid of mathematics because they associate the subject with long, boring exercises that have no meaning to them. In his classroom, he incorporates technology and real life experiences that will make mathematics real.

Email Contact: cicco@mindspring.com

Estimated Class Periods To Complete: 6 class periods, including 2 days in the computer lab

Computer Science

Beginning Grade Level: 9

Ending Grade Level: 12





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