Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Teaching Math: A Video Library, 5-8

The Location

Video Overview

Bill Stevenson explains to his sixth-grade class that each group will receive an envelope with a secret location. They're to decide, as a group, how many people will be present in that location at each hour of the day, starting at midnight and going until the next midnight. They record the information in a table.

Once they have the table, each group creates a line graph that will show this information.

Finally, Mr. Stevenson leads a wrap-up discussion in which students discuss the features of the graphs and try to guess what location the graphs might represent.




An Exploration for Teacher Workshops

Materials: grid paper

Imagine a supermarket, or wherever you buy your groceries. Think about what it's like at different times of the day.

Work in pairs to make a table with 24 entries labeled by the 24 hours of the day, starting at midnight and ending the following night at 11 p.m. Record how many people you think will be in the market each hour. Think of it as a snapshot: how many are in the market at midnight? How many at 1:00 a.m.? Continue for the remaining hours.

Finally, make a display that shows how the number of people in the market changes over time.

Some Questions

  1. How did you and your partner decide how many people were there? How did you record your data?
  2. What kind of display did you make? Why did you choose that kind of display? What kinds of representations are appropriate for this kind of data?
  3. What makes a representation clear and communicative?
  4. These instructions were fairly open-ended. What additional structure (if any) would you give to students?
  5. What's the mathematical value of this activity?




Additional Discussion Topics

Here are some additional ideas for discussion that arise in the video:

Teaching and Learning About Graphs

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