Middleschool Life

The journey of a middle school math teacher and daily observations/struggles/laughs. .

A fun activity for teach positive trends and scatter plots

Want something a class will remember - here goes.

Works well for 7th and 8th grade for sure - may work for other grades.

Take your class outside - yep outside. Have a ball - a basketball - a red rubber kickball - or anything around that size.

Have the class get in a shoulder to shoulder circle around you.

Get out a stopwatch. Explain to them they have to pass the ball around the circle and it has to go through each person’s hands on the way around. If one person drops it - that person alone is responsible for getting it and passing it on. No one else can help.

Have a piece of paper and pencil ready - call this ‘trial’ one.

Say “Go” and time them. Record the time

Have them take 2 steps back - rinse and repeat.

Continue for 12-13 trials.

Warning - they will be a very large distance apart at the end - so make sure you have wide open spaces.

Record all the times.

Go back in.

Make a t-chart - with the trials.

What were the two variables that were in play? Which one should be the domain (or independent), which would should be the range (or dependent)?

Make a scatter plot - model graphing the 1st 3-4 trials. Then let them have at it.

After it is graphed - show them how to lay a ruler down to draw an ‘estimated’ line of best fit. Older kids could calculate the actual regression equation I suppose.

Have the class come up with the title - then label the axes.

Have some students transfer it to a large piece of paper to hang on the wall.

Talk about positive trends - have them make predictions where they’d be after 20 trials time wise. Have them compare their data to other classes’ data. Make inferences about which class was faster. Why were some lines of best fit ‘steeper’ than others?

Students always seem to enjoy this and it helps them to understand positive trends.