This activity would be
appropriate as a culmination to a semester of Algebra II. Students will have
learned all of the mathematical concepts necessary for this assignment. These
will include: cost analysis and comparisons, statistical graphing,
multivariable equations, systems analysis and graphical representations.
The aim of this activity is to
synthesize mathematical skills and apply them to a real world situation (as
emphasized in the current NCTM standards).
The goal is to have the
students utilize the specific skills learned throughout the semester in
connection with a problem outside the classroom.
The estimated time frame for this
activity is two weeks of classroom time.
Not too many years ago many
people had gardens in their backyard with a variety of fruits or vegetables
growing in them. The grocery store was only used to supplement those items that
could not be grown at home. In this day and age not many people grow their own
food any longer. Without too much loss of variety and nutritional diversity, these
days, can a family of four (two adults, two children, ages 10 and 12) save
money by growing a garden in their backyard?
products must be neat, clear and concise.
A visually appealing representation of the garden must
be included, with a key.
A cost analysis of gardening vs. purchasing of food
should be included with a breakdown of where you derived your figures.-A timeline
of the development of the garden from planting to harvest will be shown.
A written explanation of how decisions were reached,
including evidence of mathematical skills used to determine data. Also any
conclusions as to the feasibility of gardening as opposed to buying at the
Work in groups of three to four students
Assume the garden is no bigger than 25 ft. x 25ft and
all necessary gardening tools are already available (that is, no money
needs to be spent to acquire proper tools).
The items to be included in the garden must be varied
and take into account nutritional needs.
Cost analysis must take into account cost of
fertilizers, pesticides, canning (to preserve what is harvested), seeds
Timeline should include all labor hours spent from soil
preparation to canning.
At least four different mathematical skills that we
covered this semester must be incorporated into your project.
Conclusions must be derived from information presented
in your report.
The teacher will provide
research materials including, books on nutrition, seed catalogs, newspapers
with ads from grocery stores and gardening centers etc. Also students will have
access to the school library and the Internet.
After the students have had a
few days to do research, a speaker will be brought in to talk to the students
during class. (This would be a good opportunity to have someone in the farming
business address a math class on a subject not usually discussed with math
This is a great way to
incorporate other strengths besides mathematical and logical skills into the
In order to successfully solve
this problem students will need to use the following skills:
knowledge of nutrition and diet
knowledge of botany, agriculture (gardening) and climate
ability to synthesize information
formatting and presentation skills
the ability to extend the mathematics learned previously
to a specific problem encountered outside the classroom environment.
Assessment will be based
on several criteria:
1) Each of the conditions of
the problem must be satisfied
2) An oral presentation given
to the class by each group will be evaluated by the teacher and by the other
students ( A grading rubric for this part will be given to the students
watching the presentations)
3) Discretionary credit give
for creativity, originality, and evidence of mathematical thought
4) Each member of the group
will be evaluated individually (a group grade will not be given)
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