Category Archives: sixth grade

Cross-curricular Middle School Statistics Unit

Note: When we surveyed teachers from the 2021-22 academic year, the most requested addition to the site was to combine the lessons into units. This cross-curricular statistics unit has 12 lessons that total 14 hours of class time, although some assignments could be completed as homework. With the length of this unit, it could be taught as a complete summer school course, addressing primarily mathematics standards but also incorporating English language arts, Social Studies (predominantly Indigenous and Latino history and culture) and science.

📖Standards

STATISTICS STANDARDS

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.1 Recognize a statistical question as one that anticipates
variability in the data related to the question and accounts
for it in the answers
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.3 Recognize that a measure of center for a numerical data set summarizes all of its values with a single number.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.4 Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5 Statistics & Probability: Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.2.B Ratios & Proportional Relationships: Identify the constant of proportionality (unit rate) in  tables, graphs, equations, diagrams, and verbal descriptions of proportional relationships.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT 7.SP.A.1 Understand that statistics can be used to gain information about a population by examining a sample of the population; generalizations about a population from a sample are valid only if the sample is representative of that population.
CCSS.Math.Content.7.SP.C.5
Understand that the probability of a chance event is a number between 0 and 1 that expresses the likelihood of the event occurring. Larger numbers indicate greater likelihood. A probability near 0 indicates an unlikely event, a probability around 1/2 indicates an event that is neither unlikely nor likely, and a probability near 1 indicates a likely event.
CCSS.Math.Content.7.SP.C.6
Approximate the probability of a chance event by collecting data on the chance process that produces it and observing its long-run relative frequency, and predict the approximate relative frequency given the probability.

ADDITIONAL MATHEMATICS STANDARDS

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.NF.B.4   Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction or whole number by a fraction.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.2 Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities.

ENGLISH/ LANGUAGE ARTS STANDARDS

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.7 Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

SCIENCE STANDARDS

Next Generation Science Standard MS-LS2-1 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics: Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS

D2.His.13.3-5  Use information about a historical source, including the maker, date, place of origin, intended audience, and purpose to judge the extent to which the source is useful for studying a particular topic.

⏰Time Required

About 14 hours for all twelve lessons

📲Technology Required

Projector or smart board for in–class or access to computer or tablet for web meeting for remote learning. Presentations could be printed for students at home without computer access. Some lessons require use of Google sheets or similar spreadsheet software.

🧾Unit Summary

This seven-lesson unit teaches sixth- and seventh-grade standards on statistics integrated with games, Indigenous and Latino history and culture. The complete multi-media unit requires about 14 hours and includes multiple hands-on activities. 

trees in background, grass in foreground
Find your way back using clues from the plants around you

📃 Lesson 1: What is a Statistical Question? (120 Minutes)

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.1 Recognize a statistical question as one that anticipates
variability in the data related to the question and accounts
for it in the answers

Teachers begin the lesson with a Google slides presentation explaining the requirements for a statistical question. Students complete an assignment identifying whether or not a question qualifies as a statistical question. After class discussion, students complete a second assignment using a small data set shown on a map. In Part 3, students write and answer their own statistical questions using a data set provided, giving an explanation for their answers. Optionally, students can complete a more challenging assignment drawing conclusions from a graph and/or play a game and identify statistical questions.

📃 Lesson 2: Mean, median and mode (35 Minutes)

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context

Students play a game teaching basic statistics and history. Next, they are given a presentation with problems students solve finding mean, median, mode, range and outliers.

This lesson has resources to teach in both Spanish and English, for an English-only lesson, click here.

📃Lesson 3: Understanding averages using skunks (30 minutes)

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

In this lesson, students will learn how to find the mean and calculate the average and practice finding the average in a game environment. They will learn about skunks and skunk farming through primary source material. Then analyzing historical data, students will calculate the average.

📃Lesson 4: Reflections on the Ojibwe Migration (60 minutes)

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.NF.B.4   Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction or whole number by a fraction.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.3 Recognize that a measure of center for a numerical data set summarizes all of its values with a single number.
D2.His.13.3-5  Use information about a historical source, including the maker, date, place of origin, intended audience, and purpose to judge the extent to which the source is useful for studying a particular topic.

This multi-media lesson begins with a storyboard on the route and major events of the Ojibwe migration. Students then play the Forgotten Trail game, computing the average number of miles a character walked per day, followed by watching a video on map reading. As a group, students reflect on the challenges of the Ojibwe migration, compute the distance for just one segment and convert the distance from miles to kilometers.

📃 Lesson 5: Science, language arts and math with wildflowers (50 Minutes)

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.7 Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
Next Generation Science Standard MS-LS2-1 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics: Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.3 Recognize that a measure of center for a numerical data set summarizes all of its values with a single number.

This is a true STREAM lesson. Combining science, reading, art and mathematics. Students read a description of the pine forest ecosystem and life zones. They define any new words in their personal dictionary. Students then use information on plant life to identify life zones and locate these zones in terms of altitude. Students who complete the activity before the allotted class time play a game that teaches fractions and basic statistics.

📃 Lesson 6: Teaching Frequency Tables with Indigenous Communities’ Data (70 minutes)

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.4 Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context

With a Google slides presentation, students are introduced to the concept of answering a question with data. A video is also provided for review. Using a data set of all tribal leaders in 2019, they are walked though an example of using Google Sheets to create frequency table and plots of data. Students then use the data set to create their own tables and plots. Students finish the lesson by playing a game where they learn about computing distributions in Mayan history.

📃 Lesson 7: Distributions and Mayan Trading (25 Minutes)

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT 7.SP.A.1 Understand that statistics can be used to gain information about a population by examining a sample of the population; generalizations about a population from a sample are valid only if the sample is representative of that population.

The two videos here combine math and social studies, because, clearly, the Maya understood math. The concept of distributions is introduced in the context of trading, explaining why some objects are more valuable. Students play AzTech: The Story Begins, which reviews fractions and measures of central tendency. The lesson concludes with a question and another video on distributions.
(NOTE: Videos are available in Spanish and Englishfor English only lesson, click here. )

📃 Lesson 8: Food Deserts, Indigenous Seeds and Data Stories (90 Minutes)

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.4 Display numerical data in plots
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.2 Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities

This truly cross-curricular assignment begins by watching a video about seed rematriation, that is returning Indigenous seeds to their original lands. They read a short booklet on cooking and nutrition, then do a cooking activity at school or home. A presentation on food deserts includes definitions, data and actions students can take. Students add new words or phrases to their word journal and complete a math assignment using data from the presentation. Advanced students play a game to learn more math and Navajo culture.

📃Lesson 9: Reading and Comparing Bar Graphs (45 Minutes)

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5 Statistics & Probability: Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.2.B Ratios & Proportional Relationships: Identify the constant of proportionality (unit rate) in  tables, graphs, equations, diagrams, and verbal descriptions of proportional relationships.

This lesson introduces students to reading and comparing bar graphs with proportional relationships. Students receive a slide or handout with four bar graphs and complete a set of cards with questions on the graphs. They can also complete the activity in Google slides . The lesson ends with an adventure game that includes discussion of interpreting bar graphs.

📃Lesson 10: Google Slides and Math (180 Minutes)

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5.C Giving quantitative measures of center and variability, as well as describing any overall pattern and any striking deviations from the overall pattern with reference to the context in which the data were gathered.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

Students play three games that teach fractions and statistics. Students learn enhanced features of Google slides. They then create a Google slides presentation stating which is their favorite game and why.

📃Lesson 11: Probability and Fruits (45 Minutes)

CCSS.Math.Content.7.SP.C.5
Understand that the probability of a chance event is a number between 0 and 1 that expresses the likelihood of the event occurring. Larger numbers indicate greater likelihood. A probability near 0 indicates an unlikely event, a probability around 1/2 indicates an event that is neither unlikely nor likely, and a probability near 1 indicates a likely event.
CCSS.Math.Content.7.SP.C.6
Approximate the probability of a chance event by collecting data on the chance process that produces it and observing its long-run relative frequency, and predict the approximate relative frequency given the probability.

The Google slides presentation begins with definitions of probability, impossibility and certainty. Students are then given an example of a basket with different types of fruits and the probability of each. Students each come to the front of the class and pull a piece of fruit from the basket, writing down the probability of their selecting the type they obtained. The class data is used to create a table and compare the obtained probabilities to actual distribution of fruit in the basket. The lesson closes with students creating their own probability question.

NOTE: This lesson plan requires a basket of fruit. You could use pictures of fruit printed out or drawn on paper instead but using actual fruit from your area might be more fun. If you’d rather, though, we do have a random fruit basket generator to use with this lesson.

📃 Lesson 12: Teaching Statistics in Classrooms with English Learners AND Native Speakers (90 minutes)

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.1 Recognize a statistical question as one that anticipates
variability in the data related to the question and accounts
for it in the answers
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.SP.A.1 Understand that statistics can be used to gain information about a population by examining a sample of the population; generalizations about a population from a sample are valid only if the sample is representative of that population.

This lesson includes game-based instruction and data analysis. Data can be collected at home on students’ phones or using a computer. Google sheets is used to compute descriptive statistics to answer a statistical question. Lab instructions, Sheet templates and a sample answer are included. You can modify this in an infinite number of ways to compare any two groups on any numeric variable.

Teaching Statistics in Classrooms with English Learners AND Native Speakers

 Standard

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.1 Recognize a statistical question as one that anticipates
variability in the data related to the question and accounts
for it in the answers

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.SP.A.1 Understand that statistics can be used to gain information about a population by examining a sample of the population; generalizations about a population from a sample are valid only if the sample is representative of that population.

📲 Technology Required

Computer with projector, for students learning in class. Students will need access to a phone, tablet or computer.

⏰ Time Required

75-90 minutes

📃 Summary

This lesson includes game-based instruction and data analysis. Data can be collected at home on students’ phones or using a computer. Google sheets is used to compute descriptive statistics to answer a statistical question. Lab instructions, Sheet templates and a sample answer are included. You can modify this in an infinite number of ways to compare any two groups on any numeric variable.

Lesson

NOTE: This lesson assumes students understand:

Discuss the definition of a statistical question.

If students have not completed the lesson, “What is a statistical question?” , you can complete that first. It takes about two hours.

If you are REALLY short on time, or if you are just reviewing the concept you have previously taught, you can just use the first 12 slides of this presentation on What is a Statistical Question?” to give the basic definition and a few examples.

Class Discussion of Research Question

Pose a research question, for example, “Do different Spanish and English speakers differ in their interests, as determined by what they post on Instagram?” Of course, you can easily change the language if you have speakers of other languages in your class.

Next, you need a hypothesis, for example, “Spanish-speakers are more likely to post pictures of food than English speakers” or “English accounts will have more pictures of themselves than Spanish accounts”.

In selecting a hypothesis, you can discuss distribution and probability. If almost no one takes pictures of giraffes then the probability of finding enough giraffe pictures to compare is low. (Be prepared for your students to suggest the hashtag #giraffesofinstagram).

#GiraffesofInstagram

Statistics Lab Assignment : Social Media Analytics

In this assignment, each group of students will collect and analyze social media data from 10 accounts of Spanish speakers and 10 accounts of English speakers. After individual assignments are submitted, data will be combined into a single class data set and the analyses re-computed for the combined data set.

Assign Groups

After you have agreed on one research question, put your class in groups of 4 or 5 students. Ideally, each group would have at least one Spanish speaker and at least one native English speaker. Ask students to raise their hands if they have an Instagram account. Try to put at least one student with an account in each group. Groups can also include students learning from home.

Share lab documents with students to collect, enter and analyze data

Social Media Analysis. The assignment instructions, along with a sample of data collected can be downloaded here as a Google doc and printed or added to your Google classroom or other CMS.

The spreadsheet for entering data can be found here. This is a Google sheet but it can also be downloaded and saved as an Excel file if you prefer.

Optional: Provide students starting links for accounts

To help students find accounts, you can include these links in your Google classroom or other classroom management system, or any list of accounts

You can find 50 inspirational accounts in Spanish here ( https://metricool.com/es/50-cuentas-de-instagram-ordenadas-por-tematica-para-inspirarte/ )

and 20 inspirational accounts in English here – ( https://wealthygorilla.com/top-20-motivational-instagram-accounts/ )


Each group analyzes their own data

An example of a social media analysis, with formula for computing each value in Google sheets can be found here.

Class discussion

Discuss the idea of variation within the accounts. Discuss the idea of variation across the groups. Did the different groups in your class find the exact same results?

Discuss variation in samples. What could have explained the different results? Did some groups have accounts that were all celebrities, all friends, all male?

Play a game

Scene in the Disaster Deduction Detectives Academy

Play Disaster Deduction Detectives (available June, 2022) to learn how to compute the median in datasets with odd or even numbers of data.

Statistics Lab Assignment 2: Social Media Analytics with Larger Sample

In the second lab exercise (instructions found here) , students combine the data from all groups, and compute descriptive statistics again. They compare their group’s results with the whole class result and discuss possible explanations.

Assessment

Three types of assessment are included. Group assessments are the two lab assignments submitted by students – since each student in the group has the same data he/ she will have the same result. Optionally, teachers may elect to have students submit their labs individually. Individual assessment is included within the DDD game where students must identify a statistical question, compute mean, median and quartiles. Whole class assessment occurs during the two discussion session.

Related lessons

We recommend this lesson follow Teaching Frequency Tables with Indigenous Communities’ Data.

Ratio and Proportion Unit

Note: When we surveyed teachers from the 2021-22 academic year, the most requested addition to the site was to combine the lessons into units. Of course, your average teacher could do this but your average teacher is also short of time. So, here is our first unit. More to follow soon.

📖Standards

CCSS.Math.Content.6.RP.A.1 Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.1 Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.2 Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities

⏰Time Required

About 4 hours for all seven lessons

📲Technology Required

Projector or smart board for in–class or access to computer or tablet for web meeting for remote learning. Presentation could be printed for students at home without computer access.

🧾Unit Summary

This seven-lesson unit teaches sixth- and seventh-grade standards on ratio and proportion using real-world problems. Complete unit requires about 4 hours and includes multiple hands-on activities.

📃 Lesson 1: Teach Ratio with Math Snacks (90 Minutes)

CCSS.Math.Content.6.RP.A.1 Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.

Students watch a video from Math Snacks in which Isabella uses the ratio of words she speaks to her date to determine if it was a good or bad day. The video has a companion teacher guide with questions to stimulate students’ thinking about ratios and test their understanding. Students play a game where they brew potions with given ratios to defeat an opponent. Students then complete a learner’s guide assessing and reinforcing their knowledge of ratios.

📃 Lesson 2: Ratios as Fractions (10 Minutes)

Summary

Standard: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.1 Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems.

Yes, this lesson plan is just a video. We watched LOTS of boring videos on ratios and rates to find this one! This video can be used before or after the lesson on Introduction to Ratio and Proportion, either as an introduction for students who need more preparation or a second look for students who could benefit from having the material presented in a different way.

📃 Lesson 3: Introduce Ratios and Proportion (30 minutes)

Standard: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.1 Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems.

Summary: Students are presented with definitions of ratio and proportion along with multiple examples and ways to solve these problems. This presentation includes multiple explanations for multiple levels of understanding. There is a solution using algebra, with cross-multiplication and an explanation of why cross-multiplication works. There is also an explanation using equivalent fractions. If you are teaching an algebra class, use the first explanation and delete the second. For a more basic math class, delete the first explanation and just use equivalent fractions. Also includes a baking activity, not required but highly recommended.

📃Lesson 4: Ratio, Proportion and Animal Identification (65 Minutes)

Standard: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.1 Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems.

Students hear or read a presentation on ratio, percentage decrease, rate and proportion. They watch a short video on ratio. Students collect data either outdoors or using images provided. They then compute ratio, rate, increase and proportion using the data.

📃Lesson 5: Introducing Ratio and Proportion with Making Camp Navajo (30 Minutes)

Standard: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.2 Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities

Students play the Making Camp Navajo game, selecting the activity that explains ratio and proportion. The teacher reviews the activity with the class in a presentation, that includes three more problems to be completed as a group.

📃Lesson 6: Rates, Ratios and Proportions with Fractions (40 Minutes)

Standards: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.1 Compute unit rates, including those that involve complex fractions, with like or different units.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.2.C. Represent proportional relationships by equations

Students watch a 4-minute video giving examples of finding unit rates by simplifying fractions. They solve a problem together as a class and are given a short lecture on solving rate problems with complex fractions. Problems provided can be worked by students individually or done together in class.

📃Lesson 7: Discover Dairy – Ratio in the Cow Life Cycle (65 Minutes)

Standards:CCSS.Math.Content.6.RP.A.1 Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.2 Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.

This cross-curricular lesson is from Discover Dairy. Students read a passage on the life cycle of dairy cows. A guided class discussion answers questions on the life cycle. The lesson concludes with a challenging lab in which students create a healthy cow diet.

Distributions and Mayan Trading (Bilingual English & Spanish)

📖Standard

7.SP.A.1 Understand that statistics can be used to gain information about a population by examining a sample of the population; generalizations about a population from a sample are valid only if the sample is representative of that population. Understand that random sampling tends to produce representative samples and support valid inferences.

Minnesota State Standard – History Sub-strand 4, Standard 15 “North America was populated by indigenous nations that had developed a wide range of social structures, political systems, and economic activities, and whose expansive trade networks extended across the continent.”

Time

20- 30 Minutes 

📲Technology Required

Device with web-browser – Chromebook, laptop or desktop computer, phone or tablet

📃Summary

The two videos here combine math and social studies, because, clearly, the Maya understood math. The concept of distributions is introduced in the context of trading, explaining why some objects are more valuable. Students play AzTech: The Story Begins, which reviews fractions and measures of central tendency. The lesson concludes with a question and another video on distributions.

📚Lesson Plan

1. Watch video – Mayan Trading (1:57)

Also available in Spanish! – El Comercio Maya (1:58)

El Comercio Maya

The Mayan trading video is based on an idea from one of my favorite history teachers, who says that history is more than just names and dates but also how people lived, what they used, what they did. It also has a bar chart of the relative value of objects. It explains that the Maya traded less common items for more common ones and that items that were more difficult to obtain were more valuable.

2. Play AzTech: Meet the Maya

Next, have students start the AzTech games series. They can play AzTech: Meet the Maya online or using an iPad. We recommend downloading the game onto your iPhone or iPad for better performance.

3. Question to test understanding

José tried to trade a banana for a quetzal feather and a villager threw a spear at him. Why would the villager do that? Explain using math. Extra points if you can discuss distributions in your explanation.

José ofreció intercambiar un plátano por una pluma de quetzal y un aldeano le lanzó una lanza. ¿Por qué haría eso? Explica usando la matemática. Puntos extra si puedes hablar de distribuciones en tu explicación.

4. Video giving the answer to the word problem on distributions (5:15)

Also available in Spanish! (5:15)

Explicando distribuciones y variabilidad

This five-minute video introduces distributions and variability and gives an example of computing a weighted mean from a frequency distribution.

OPTIONAL You can also copy this Google slides presentation to your own classroom if you’d rather modify the explanation for your own lecture. The slides can also be printed out and sent home with students who do not have Internet access.

Spanish Google Slides presentation – Introduciendo Distribuciones

ASSESSMENT

You can view your students’ progress on mastering these standards by viewing your teacher reports. The link to the teacher dashboard for AzTech: Meet the Maya student reports can be found on this page. You should have received a password during the Growing Math training.

State Standards

Minnesota State Standard 6.4.1.1 – Determine the sample space (set of possible outcomes) for a given experiment and determine which members of the sample space are related to certain events. Sample space may be determined by the use of tree diagrams, tables or pictorial representations.

Related Lesson

Distributions and Mayan Trading – This lesson is the English Only version of the lesson above.

Discover Dairy: Cow Life Cycle

📖 Standards

CCSS.Math.Content.6.RP.A.1 Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.

📲 Technology Required

Computer with printer to print lab work sheets, for in-class use. Computer or tablet with Internet access for home use.

Heads up! For the lab in this lesson you will need spinach, carrots, cheese sticks, orange juice, and a weight scale and/or measuring cups. It is not required to do the lab 2 component but recommended.

⏰ Time

60-70 minutes

📃 Summary

This cross-curricular lesson is from Discover Dairy. Students read a passage on the life cycle of dairy cows. A guided class discussion answers questions on the life cycle. The lesson concludes with a challenging lab in which students create a healthy cow diet.

Lesson

NOTE: While we create most lessons on the Growing Math site ourselves, we do include links to other lessons that are exemplary in their cross-curricular, standards-based design. This lesson is one of two “lessons we love” from Discover Dairy. The entire 14-page guide with two lessons can be downloaded here, including reading passages, lab assignments and answer keys.

You can also go to the Discover Dairy site, which requires a free registration and login to download individual parts of the lesson and see the other lessons they have available.

Read a passage on the life cycle of a dairy cow

You’ll find this on page 14 of the handout linked above or download both reading assignments here (it’s only two pages) or copy the link to assign in your Google classroom to read on line.

Class Discussion on Life Cycle

Using the discussion questions on page 4 of the complete lesson plan, discuss the dairy cow life cycle with students based on their knowledge from the reading.

dairy cow

Lab Exercise #2 Feeding a Dairy Cow

Each student or group will need a scale or measuring cup and the following:

  • 1 cup spinach
  • Baby or whole carrots
  • 1 cheese stick
  • One 12 oz. cup of orange juice

Distribute the materials needed and the lab assignment (pages 11 and 12 of the complete lesson plan or you can link directly to those here, if you want to assign in Google classroom or other management system. Note that link includes both labs 1 and 2.) Lab explanation from page 5 of the complete lesson plan.

Teachers should explain that a healthy, well-cared-for cow will give more milk. The way farmers care for their cows and how they feed them has helped to increase the amount of milk cows give over the past 50 years.  Just like our diets, a cow’s diet must be balanced based on her stage of life. For instance, a baby calf requires higher energy foods to fuel her rapid growth.  A cow that has just given birth requires higher levels of certain nutrients to replenish her body. Farmers must adjust rations to accommodate those needs.  Farmers work closely with an animal nutritionist and use a variety of feed products to balance cows’ diets to meet their precise nutrient needs using a variety of feed products.  Farmers use a large feeding scale to make sure each cow gets the right amount of each feed. Those feeds are blended together to provide a balanced diet called a Total Mixed Ration (TMR). During the lab, students should use the carrots, celery, cheese and orange juice to balance a diet to meet the required nutrients listed on the lab worksheet. They should use a weight scale to measure the right amount of each feed. If they don’t have a weight scale, they can use measuring cups to determine the amount. Complete the ratios in the worksheet.

– Discovery Dairy

Answer keys for this lab exercise as well as for the lab for the selective breeding lesson can be found here.

Review and Summarize Dairy Cow Life Cycle: What We’ve Learned

Review questions and summary can be found on pages 5 and 6 of the complete lesson plan.

ASSESSMENT

This lesson includes three types of assessment – the initial class discussion gives an estimate of the general class understanding of the dairy cow life cycle. The lab provides individual student data on mastery of both the science and math concepts. The concluding review questions can be poised to the whole class or given to students as a quiz.

Related lesson

Discover Dairy: Selective Breeding

Discover Dairy: Selective Breeding

📖 Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.

📲 Technology Required

Computer with projector, for in-class use. Computer or tablet with Internet access for home use.

⏰ Time

60-70 minutes

📃 Summary

This cross-curricular lesson is one of two “lessons we love” from Discover Dairy. Students watch a short video, read a passage on selective breeding in dairy cows, have a discussion and complete a lab exercise in selective breeding.

Lesson

NOTE: While we create most lessons on the Growing Math site ourselves, we do include links to other lessons that are exemplary in their cross-curricular, standards-based design. This is one of two lessons we love from Discover Dairy. The entire 14-page lesson can be downloaded here, including reading passages, lab assignments and answer keys.

You can also go to the Discover Dairy site, which requires a free registration and login to download individual parts of the lesson and see the other lessons they have available.

Start with a video

Watch a four-minute video on dairy farms to kick the lesson off.

Read a passage on selective breeding in dairy cows

You’ll find this on page 13 of the handout linked above or download both reading assignments here (it’s only two pages) or copy the link to assign in your Google classroom to read on line.

Class Discussion on Selective Breeding

See page 2 of the full lesson linked above for suggested discussion questions. Note that the first question asks about the 7 types of dairy cows- the 7 types of cows are picture on the complete lesson plan on page 7.

Lab Exercise #1 : Selective Breeding

Pass out the lab activity #1 sheets, in pages 9 and 10 of the complete lesson plan. You can link directly to those here, if you want to assign in Google classroom or other management system. Note that link includes both labs 1 and 2.

Once students have the materials, explain the lab activity. You may want to use the explanation given on pages 2-3 of the lesson plan.

Answer keys for both lab exercises can be found here.

Not a dairy cow
Bovine, but not a dairy cow

Read a passage on the life cycle of a dairy cow

You’ll find this on pages 14 of the handout linked above or download both reading assignments here (it’s only two pages) or copy the link to assign in your Google classroom to read on line.

Answer keys for both lab exercises can be found here.

ASSESSMENT

Two types of assessment occur in this lesson. During the class discussion, teachers can get an assessment of the understanding of the concepts of the class as a whole and the lab assignment can be used for individual assessment.

Related Lesson

Discover Dairy: Life Cycle of the Dairy Cow

Decimals, Epidemics & Fly Vomit – It’s science!

📖Standards

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.NBT.B.7 Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to hundredths

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.MD.A.1 Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

Lesson

1. Play a game

Play AzTech: Empiric Empire to learn basic conversions from fractions to decimals. Empiric Empire is available free for iPad or iPhone and for Android phones. As an added bonus, students will also learn about epidemics. It’s worth mentioning that the smallpox epidemic was spread by viruses but a lot of other diseases are spread by flies.

Note: For summer learning, you may want to just copy the paragraph above into your Google classroom for students to download the games to their phones.

2. Watch a video

I pasted in a link starting after the first minute because that is mostly telling you to like/ subscribe and comment. Ah, YouTube!

Bell Ringer – What if flies went extinct ?  This 7:33  minute video discusses flies as agricultural pests and disease vectors, but also their benefits as scavengers eating up decaying carcasses, pollinators and animal feed.

Here is the link if you’d like to post in your Google classroom or other CMS for students to watch at home. https://youtu.be/80Iqp6bqc-0?t=76

3. Read about flies

Recommended reading: Eat like a house fly. Houseflies and barf

What really happens when a house fly lands on your food? Print out this page from Science World – Canada , include the link in your Google classroom or other CMS for students to read, or just read the page to students during class. The experiment requires vinegar, jello and a turkey baster – things many people have around the house or can pick up easily at a local store. It also includes a list of vocabulary words and definitions, which fits perfectly with our philosophy of direct teaching of academic language.

4. Complete word journal

This lesson provides the opportunity for students to learn many words, in the reading, in the videos and possibly in the Empiric Empire game as well. Students add words or terms with which they are unfamiliar to their word journal. Some teachers call it a personal dictionary, to others it’s a word journal. Regardless, the goal is the same, for students to record new words, give a dictionary definition and “make the word their own”. This can be done by rewriting the definition in their own words, using the word in a sentence or including an illustration of the word.

Two dictionary sites to recommend for definitions are below. An added bonus to mention to students is that they can hear words pronounced.

Since students often ask for an example, here is an example you can link in your lesson

The personal dictionary assignment, with all links, can be found here. Feel free to copy and paste into your Google classroom or other site, or print out for your class.

5. Presentation on Decimals in Science (Fly Experiment)

Give this presentation on using decimals to weigh flies, their containers and the food they eat to answer the question, “Do flies really eat 10 times their weight each day?”

Watch a second video

I recommend watching the first 5 1/2 minutes of the Facts About Flies – Secret Nature video  to give the students some idea about both flies as vectors of disease but also important scavengers consuming decaying material. The full documentary is 49 minutes, which I personally found to be more about flies than I wanted to know.

Assessment

Three types of assessment are included in this lesson.

  1. The Word Journal assignment is completed individually and submitted.
  2. Math questions answered within the Empiric Empire game are scored automatically with immediate feedback and student results can be viewed in the teacher reports.
  3. Math questions posed within the presentation can be answered as a whole class, having students hold up a card with their answer or with individual students responding and asking the rest of the class to agree or disagree.


Differentiated instruction

Review of Decimal Addition

One-minute step-by-step video from TeacherTube on Adding Decimals may be helpful for students who need a review of decimal addition.

Watch the whole video

For students who are extremely interested in insects, watching the entire 49 minute video of Facts about Flies will satisfy their curiosity

Experiments with fly larva

For teachers who want to do a deep dive into the role flies in consuming food waste, the experiment above uses 100 black soldier fly larvae. I am extremely impressed with this lesson because not only does it include a link to where to buy maggots (on Amazon, of course) but also answers the obvious question of what do you do with 100 fly larvae after your experiment is over. The answer is that you feed these to your class reptile. Would I bring 100 maggots into my classroom? Not in a million years, but that is why I am not an entomologist.

You DO have a class snake, don’t you?

Mean, Median and Mode (Bilingual English & Spanish)

by Dr. Craig Waddell

📖 Standard

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context

⏰ Time

30-40 Minutes 

📲 Technology Required

Device with web-browser – Chromebook, laptop or desktop computer, phone or tablet

📃 Summary

Students play a game teaching basic statistics and history. Next, they are given a presentation with problems students solve finding mean, median, mode, range and outliers.

📚Lesson

Play a game teaching basic statistics and Latin American history

Meet the jaguars in AzTech: Meet the Maya

Play AzTech: The story begins. Students who have finished this game can continue on in the series in AzTech: Meet the Maya. Allow students 15-20 minutes to play.

Students can click on a button in the left of their screen to choose the language and play the games in either Spanish or English.

Assess knowledge of Mean, Median and Mode as a class

Use this Google slides presentation to present sets of numbers to the class to use for finding mean, median, mode and range. This is also available as a PowerPoint presentation.

This presentation can also be assigned for students to complete at home, if learning remotely. Slides with answers can be deleted, or left in for students to check their work.

Review as Necessary

If students need a review, they can watch this video on how to find the mean

Finding the Average video

Or, watch the video in Spanish

Encontrando el promedio

ASSESSMENT

You can view your students’ progress on mastering these standards by viewing your teacher reports. AzTech: The Story Begins and AzTech: Meet the Maya links can be found on this reports page. You should have received a password during the Growing Math training.

A second form of assessment is available through this the questions in the presentation.

Related lesson/ Differentiated Instruction

If your students need instruction on computing the mean, try this lesson, Understanding the mean, with skunks. This review can be done with the entire class or assigned to individual students as needed.

Mean, Median and Mode – The English only version of this lesson plan that includes English resources.

Food Deserts, Indigenous Seeds and Data Stories

Standard

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.4 Display numerical data in plots

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.RP.A.2 Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities

⏰ Time

70 – 90 minutes, including cooking activity

📲 Technology Required

A computer with projector or smart board is required to show the video and presentation to students.

Summary

This truly cross-curricular assignment begins by watching a video about seed rematriation, that is returning Indigenous seeds to their original lands. They read a short booklet on cooking and nutrition, then do a cooking activity at school or home. A presentation on food deserts includes definitions, data and actions students can take. Students add new words or phrases to their word journal and complete a math assignment using data from the presentation. Advanced students play a game to learn more math and Navajo culture.

📚 Lesson

Watch this video seed rematriation, that is, growing Indigenous seeds in the lands from which they came originally.

Read a short booklet on cooking and nutrition

Scrambled eggs and spinach – available here as a free pdf from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is directed at parents but should be at the reading level of most sixth- or seventh-graders.

Make some eggs

It will be a lot more fun for your class if you can actually go to the school kitchen and cook some eggs. Reading the booklet above will give the recipe, optional ingredients and much more. The only 3 ingredients you absolutely need are eggs, spinach and vegetable oil or butter.

Alternative assignment

If you absolutely cannot go to the kitchen at school because of scheduling, safety regulations or other reasons, here are two other options.

  • Assign this activity for students to do with their parents at home. Here is the link for the recipe. You can make this an extra credit activity because not everyone has parents who have time or money to run out for eggs and spinach. Optional: If students have access to a phone or tablet, have them record themselves/ their parent cooking.
  • You can watch a video of kids making the recipe , but doing it with your class will be more fun.

Listen to/ read presentation on food deserts

What if there was nowhere to buy eggs, spinach or even seeds near where you live? You can use this Google slides presentation to present to students in class or assign them to read on their own.

Complete word journal

Students add words or terms with which they are unfamiliar to their word journal. Some teachers call it a personal dictionary, to others it’s a word journal. Regardless, the goal is the same, for students to record new words, give a dictionary definition and “make the word their own”. This can be done by rewriting the definition in their own words, using the word in a sentence or including an illustration of the word.

Two dictionary sites to recommend for definitions are below. An added bonus to mention to students is that they can hear words pronounced.

Since students often ask for an example, here is an example you can link in your lesson

The personal dictionary assignment, with all links, can be found here. Feel free to copy and paste into your Google classroom or other site, or print out for your class.

Math assignment: Using statistics and ratio to answer questions

Copy the assignment into your Google classroom or other system or print out for students. Students will use the data from the Food Deserts presentation to answer questions about percentages. They will also create pie charts (circle graphs) and bar charts. You can have students do this with a calculator or pencil and paper or using Google sheets.

ANSWER KEY for assignment

If you’d like a spreadsheet where these tables and graphs were created, you can find it here.

Differentiated Instruction: For Advanced Students

Challenge more advanced students to watch this video on Making Mounds for Three Sisters Gardens. The vocabulary is a little more advanced than the typical sixth-grade with terms like “nitrogen”, “fish emulsion”. In the first farm, they planted 80 mounds. Students should watch the video and figure out from the information given how wide the plot must be .

More advanced students can also play the Making Camp Navajo game, available from the Games for Kids portal on this site, to learn more about farming and expand their knowledge of ratio and proportion.

Assessment

Word journals are graded based on correct or incorrect definition. Data analysis assignments assess student achievement of math standards above.

Teaching frequency tables with Indigenous communities’ data

STANDARD

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.4 Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context

Technology Required

Students will need either a computer or tablet to play the game. Teachers will need a computer connected to a projector or smart board to show the presentation or video.

Time

60-75 minutes including, presentation, analysis and game

Summary

With a Google slides presentation, students are introduced to the concept of answering a question with data. A video is also provided for review. Using a data set of all tribal leaders in 2019, they are walked though an example of using Google Sheets to create frequency table and plots of data. Students then use the data set to create their own tables and plots. Students finish the lesson by playing a game where they learn about computing distributions in Mayan history.

Lesson

1. Presentation on primary sources and frequency distributions with Google sheets.

Give students a slide presentation that asks the question “How wired are tribes?” . This also gives the definitions of data, primary sources, secondary sources and frequency table. Students will learn how to create a frequency table with Google sheets.

Differentiated Instruction: If needed, students can review the information by watching this video on their own.

You can also assign students who were absent to watch the video on their own.

2. Assign Students to Create Their Own Frequency Distribution

A Google doc with the assignment and link to video.

You’ll need the 2019 Tribal Leaders Data Set to complete this assignment. Copy the link into Google classroom for students to access.

Here is the answer key for the teacher

If your students completed the assignment correctly, it will match the answer key here.

Differentiated Instruction: For more advanced students

You may wish to have them compute an additional frequency distribution to show the frequency distribution of tribal entities by BIA region. That answer is also provided in the file above.

3. Play a game that teaches distributions

When students have completed their assignments that can play AzTech: Meet the Maya, a game which teaches statistics, including frequency distributions.

Assessment

Two types of assessment are available, their answers to the assignment with Google sheets, and their responses to the in-app math challenges in AzTech: Meet the Maya, which are graded automatically with data available from the. teacher reports.