October 2020: Featured Lessons – Grades 6-8 Math/Science

Check out October’s featured resources – seasonal lessons, subject area content, and some of our staff favorites too! 


Gigantic Ratios

Grade(s): 6

Subject(s): Math, Science

It’s not fall without pumpkins! In this activity, students will use ratios to make comparisons between the circumference and weight of ordinary pumpkins and GIGANTIC, contest winning pumpkins. Students will work with equivalent ratios and unit rates, determine the size of other gigantic things, and learn about how giant pumpkins are grown.

Smelly Jelly Stones Candy Conundrum

Grade(s): 6, 7

Subject(s): Math, ELA

The mixologists at the Smelly Jelly Stones Candy Company are perplexed. They are planning their Howler Halloween Mix and want to know which flavors of jelly stones to include in their ghostly trick or treat packages. The Big Boss is waiting.

From measurement conversion to calculating cost and profit, all you’ll need is a calculator and your imagination to be successful with your plan for the Big Boss.

The Electoral College

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8

Subject(s): Math, ELA, Social Studies

In this project, students will have the opportunity to research and then create a brochure on the use of the Electoral College for electing the President of the United States. In addition, students will choose whether or not they agree with the use of the Electoral College and participate in a debate. There are multiple opportunities for problem solving and student inquiry. This project also provides an Electoral Vote simulation.

Math Lessons

Marketing Madness

Grade(s): 8

Subject(s): Math

In Marketing Madness, students use real data on consumption of their favorite food and drink products around the world to practice using scientific notation. As marketing analysts they have to compare the consumption of different countries to decide where to expand their product next as well as learning some of the vocabulary used in the industry along the way.

This performance task has different editions for 6 foods, including soda, coffee, and chocolate.

Book Math

Grade(s): 6

Subject(s): Math, ELA

The Dr. Seuss book, Green Eggs and Ham, consistently ranks near the top in lists of the best children’s books of all time. Did you know that Dr. Seuss wrote the book in response to a challenge by his publisher that he could not write a successful book using no more than 50 words?

In this project, students will read Green Eggs and Ham through the eyes of a mathematician and find a way to present the book using data. Then they will create their own story and graph based on the concept of word limitations. The lesson covers math and language arts standards, connects well with Read Across America, and can be modified to accommodate many different grade levels.

Franchise Frenzy

Grade(s): 7

Subject(s): Math

In Franchise Frenzy, students use real sales data from their favorite restaurant chain to practice writing expressions and equations. As Chief Financial Officer of the chain, they have to review the sales projections, and expectations for a new franchise as well as thinking about the other costs associated with running a franchise. Along the way students also learn some of the vocabulary used in this industry.

This performance task has editions for 11 popular restaurants, including Chili’s Grill & Bar, Chick-Fil-A, and Burger King.

Science Lessons

Sell an Element!

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8

Subject(s): ELA, Science

The periodic table has elements that you know and use each day, and some elements that you may not know. Let’s educate, respect, and protect all the elements of the periodic table before we take our limited resources on Earth for granted. Students will be responsible for researching and presenting – through a brochure or poster – one of the elements at an Element Convention. They become the element and educate people about themselves!

My Life as a Tectonic Plate

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8

Subject(s): ELA, Science

Tectonic plate movements direct much of our natural world, but are so large that they are difficult to imagine. In this project, students will research and analyze the attributes of a tectonic plate by becoming a plate!

Students will investigate the details, trends, unanswered questions, patterns, and more in the history of the tectonic plate and explain it all from the point of view of the tectonic plate. Enemies? Yes! Peer pressure? Let’s talk. Students will collaborate with peers, and will present their final project to their classmates.

Local Environmental Issues

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8

Subject(s): ELA, Science

In this Rank & Reason, students consider various potential environmental issues in their local community. They rank these according to which they consider to be the most important.

This question is designed to have no right answer. Students must think critically and provide justification for their rankings. Interactive features allow students to compare their rankings with others and to the class average.

Staff Favorite

Hackathon Part 1

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8

Subject(s): Math, ELA, Science

Learning to code is something everyone can do. This project makes use of resources published for the Hour of Code and organizes them into a “hackathon” for upper elementary or middle school students. Resources are easily followed and the teacher can learn with the students in a collaborative environment.

The project uses the Rank and Reason Tool and video to kickoff and engages students at the Wannabe level. Students can then move through tasks at the Junior Coder level, Code Monkey level, and finally Hacker Level – reflecting on their learning as they go.