Students usually learn graphical representations by being taught to graph meaningless or boring, out of date data. I have designed a unit to give real life meaning and real word examples to teach New Haven Public School students how to create and interpret various tables and graphs. I have used data on renewable energy, national energy use and personal energy use. Students will also learn about fossil fuels and the importance of finding ways to decrease their own carbon footprints. Students will be asked to research and examine interesting and up to date data to gain the concepts and skills being asked in the Pre-Algebra curriculum. This unit will have the benefit of being interdisciplinary and will give students a chance to bridge the math and science gap, as renewable energy is part of the ninth grade science curriculum.
Students in Pre-Algebra study graphical models and have an introduction to correlation. The prior knowledge students need to come into this unit with is a broad understanding of tables and charts as well as an ability to interpret graphical representations. This unit will help give real life meaning to the skills and concepts associated with graphing by creating discussions based on scientific data and the math that backs it up. This unit should take 5-7 school days allowing a weekend to do some project research. Students should be able to read various pieces of literature that are rich in information about renewable energy concepts. They will then choose the appropriate way to display data from bar graphs, histograms, scatter plots and line graphs. The final assessment will be a project in which a student will be able to analyze his or her own energy use and waste. Students will demonstrate mastery of the new scientific information by backing up their analyses with facts researched in student resources. A short oral presentation can be given to the class and two graphical displays will be handed in as well as a plan to modify the students' habits into more sustainable living habits.