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 Mathematics Classroom Activities

Battle of the X-Planes
In "Backpack Challenge," students design a backpack that meets multiple needs. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Codebreakers
In "Codemaker's Guidelines," students learn about codes and then create their own to encipher a message. Grades 6-8.

In "Where on Earth," students collect data and create maps to observe the relationship among volcanoes, earthquakes, and lithospheric plates. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Decoding Nazi Secrets
In "Operation Decode," students experience how ciphers can conceal and protect information. Grades 6-8.

Dying to Be Thin
In "Body Images," students collect and analyze data about how healthy men and women are portrayed in the media and use this data to learn more about healthy lifestyles. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Elegant Universe, The: Einstein's Dream
In "Deducting Dimensions," students visualize a universe with fewer than three spatial dimensions and consider how more than three spatial dimensions could exist in the universe. Grades 9-12.

Escape! Because Accidents Happen -- Car Crash
In "Buckled Up?," students design and implement a study of local seat belt use and compare the results to national statistics. Grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12.

Fall of the Leaning Tower
In "Hold It Up," students experiment with different soil structures and measure the ability of each to carry a specific load. Grades 6-8.

Fire Wars
In "Fire Season Statistics," students extrapolate information and further questions for investigation from year 2000 fire season statistics. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Galileo's Battle for the Heavens
In "Plotting the Spots," students study past sunspot cycles for trends and use data to construct and evaluate graphs of the current cycle. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Hunt for the Serial Arsonist
In "At Your Fingerprints," students prepare, study, and graph fingerprint patterns. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Hunting the Hidden Dimension
In "Coastline Measurements," investigate fractals, learn how fractals can be used to determine the length of a coastline, and explore the expression of mathematical principles in art. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

In Search of Human Origins, Part II
In "Still Evolving After All These Years," students look for trends in height and weight data of North American boys in data sets from they years 1880 and 1960. Grades 6-8.

Infinite Secrets
In "Archimedes' Recipe for Pi," students duplicate the method Archimedes used to estimate the value of pi. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Lincoln's Secret Weapon
In "Dive, Dive, Dive," students explore how principles of gas behavior relate to diving in order to plan safe underwater activities. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Lost at Sea -- The Search for Longitude
In "Voyage Around the World," students research and chart the shortest course to circumnavigate the globe. Grades 6-8.

Lost King of the Maya
In "Calendar Count," students learn about and apply the Maya Long Count calendar system. Grades 6-8.

Lost Treasures of Tibet
In "Designing a Mandala," students consider angles and geometric shapes as they create a mandala-style piece of art. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

MARS Dead or Alive
In "Slowing Things Down," students investigate three variables affecting a parachute's rate of descent and then design a parachute that will descend as slowly as possible. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

In "Nailing Cladistics," students collect, analyze, and interpret information about objects in order to classify them in a cladogram. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Mountain of Ice
In "Secrets in the Ice," students graph and analyze sodium, chloride, and sulfate ion concentrations collected from an ice core to learn about past atmospheric conditions. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Mystery of the Megaflood
In "How Big Is That?," students use everyday items and speeds to describe the dimensions of a massive flood that occurred in the Pacific Northwest near the end of the last ice age. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Proof, The
In "When Is a Line Not a Line?," students explore elliptic curves and modular forms. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Race to Catch a Buckyball
In "Building a Buckyball," students construct a paper model of the 60-carbon-atom Buckyball. Grades 6-8.

Science Odyssey, A: Mysteries of the Universe
In "Universal Proportions," create scale models of Earth, the Moon, and distances in space to develop a sense of the relative sizes and of the immense distances within the universe. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Easter Island
In "Weighing In," students compare the weights of Egyptian obelisks and Rapa Nui moai to other objects. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Pharaoh's Obelisk
In "Weighing In," students compare the weights of Egyptian obelisks and Rapa Nui moai to other objects. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Secrets, Lies, and Atomic Spies
In "Puzzling Messages," students break a code and explore the skills required in this form of analytical thinking. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Special Effects -- Titanic and Beyond
In "Putting It into Perspective," students investigate how geometry plays a role in perspective. Grades 6-8.

Supersonic Dream
In "Fueling the Burn," students investigate how fuel use affects the mass of different planes during flight and determine the per person fuel cost of a transatlantic flight for seven airplanes. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Terror in Space
In "Controlling the Cube," students explore the concept of center of mass and experiment with how altering the location of an object's center of mass can affect its motion. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Three Men and a Balloon
In "At Arm's Length," students use visual perspective to estimate distance. Grades 6-8.

Time Travel
In "Measuring Time," students conduct several activities to better understand the nature of time. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Treasures of the Sunken City
In "Tabletop Map," students create a tabletop grid, position and catalog objects within it, and then interpret each other's sites. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

In "Sine Wave Science," students explore constructive and destructive interference of sine waves and plot a complex wave. Grades 9-12.

Wanted -- Butch and Sundance
In "Identifying the Skeletons," students analyze bone specimen illustrations and correlate the person to whom they may have belonged. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

War Machines of Tomorrow
In "The Third Side," students simulate the Global Positioning System by using triangulation to locate a target. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

What's Up With the Weather?
In "Temperature Trends," students use a statistical analysis technique, the moving average, to search for meaningful trends in regional raw temperature data. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

World in the Balance
In "Double Up," calculate how long it takes a countryís population to double in size and investigate factors affecting growth rate. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

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