October 2020: Featured Lessons – Grades 9-12 Math/Science

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


Zombie Apocalypse

Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

Subject(s): Math

It’s inevitable. One day Zombies will take over Earth. If you are not preparing your students, you are being irresponsible. If you want to turn your “dead” exponential and logarithm unit into an “undead” one, this might work for you.

Turn your Algebra 2 or Pre-Calculus into a forum for United Nations research and development. Specifically focusing on exponential and logarithmic functions, students will be given the notes of a renown scientist who herself has become a zombie. They must make sense of the notes before they too succumb to the virus. Students will practice evaluating, modeling, analyzing and inverting these functions.

The Election

Grade(s): 9

Subject(s): Math

Bring the Presidential Election into your classroom with a few authentic challenges that will push your students citizenship and build Election vocabulary across contents!

Students will use their skills with percents and data analysis to solve authentic election problems.

In this project, you will be given an outline for how to implement the project, handout resources for students to use, and an answer key. In all it is two different assignments – In “Battleground States”, students will analyze tables and graphs of recent Presidential Election to understand the difference between “safe” states, “battleground” states and the differences in funding and campaign stops between them. Why exactly do Obama and Romney practically live in Ohio and Florida? Students will discover this for themselves. In “The Electoral College”, students use a hypothetical Alternative Method to decide the President! Many take issue with the Electoral College so students will compare the actual results with the Alternative to see if there is any difference in who would have been President!

Math Lessons

Choose Your Own Adventure

Grade(s): 9, 10

Subject(s): Math

Choose Your Own Adventure is an interdisciplinary assignment that blends routine practice (in this case, solving two-step equations) with global content. A play on the Choose Your Own Adventure books of your childhood, a Choose Your Own Adventure assignment allows students choice of which problems they practice. After each problem they receive a clue about the mystery country they are exploring. By the end, hopefully they will have enough pieces of the puzzle to guess where in the heck they are.

Student choices will affect the types of clues they will receive and allows for additional practice for enrichment or remediation.

Choose Your Own Adventure assignments are designed to highlight under-studied countries to spark a student’s curiosity about the world. Our students are underexposed to many countries of the world, and this is an easy way a math teacher can throw in some interdisciplinary content without sacrificing their math!

The Underground

Grade(s): 10, 11

Subject(s): Math

Expand your students’ international education with an exploration of the London Underground. Through building skills of estimation, measurement, and use of scale, students will conclude their learning with an estimation of London’s Circle Line.

This is a hands-on STEM Project for hands-on learners and provides a nice departure from the grind of the daily classroom.

In “Estimating a Distance”, students are asked to use a scale to measure a distance across a series of shapes. This becomes more complicated when the sides are rounded. It may work well to do an example of this type together as a class. In “The Underground”, students estimate the distance of a London Underground Tube line using indirect measurements. In “Going Tubing”, students will answer analytical follow up questions. Through these questions, the student must help a tourist figure out how to get around London to see different sites.

Science Lessons

Devastating Diseases

Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

Subject(s): ELA, Science, Social Studies

Students will use this critical thinking activity to discuss the most devastating diseases in history. They begin by researching the diseases using the articles that are provided. After they have had some time to learn about the diseases, they will be able to participate in a whole group discussion. Following the discussion, they will be able to rank the diseases according to which one was the most destructive in history. Students will use the Rank & Reason tool to drag and drop a curated list of diseases to rank their choices and use reasoning skills to justify their decisions. After the students have completed the task independently, they will be able to compare their answers with their classmates. Finally, they will write about the disease they ranked the highest, explaining their reasoning and citing specific evidence.

Prokaryotic vs. Eukaryotic Cells

Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

Subject(s): Science

In this Rank & Reason, students consider the properties of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. They rank these according to what is the most differentiating feature of these cells.

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

Person Puzzle – Domain & Range

Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

Subject(s): Math

Bring to life the traditional practice class or homework assignment with some global competency and diversity! While your students practice with domain, range and functions, they can learn about the inspirational life of Helen Keller!

Person Puzzles are designed to highlight individuals with diverse backgrounds who have made significant contributions to our world. Students are often underexposed and unaware of many significant (historical or current) figures and this is a an easy way a math teacher can throw some interdisciplinary content without sacrificing their math!

Students enjoy Person Puzzles because they innately like figuring out these types of facts and enjoy learning about someone interesting and different! You use Person Puzzles as timed warm-ups which allow you to share a little about the person’s background before your daily lesson. You can also drop some college readiness info like majors, degrees, and careers!