Buck Institute for Education

What Will They Think?

Author: Ryan Gallagher

What will my students be doing?

In the What Will They Think? project, students use their understanding of graphing to make predictions, based on a small set of responses, about how a larger group of people will answer questions about ideas for new food products.

What's Included:

  • Project Overview
  • 8 Essential Elements of PBL
  • Sequence of the Project
  • Step-By-Step Teaching Guide
  • Student Handouts
  • Teacher Materials

Current Version: April 22, 2014

One important application of learning to graph a line comes in the form of a statistical projection, which is using a set of data to make predictions about future events. Statistical projections are used widely in many different arenas, from predicting the next president of the United States to finding out who might enjoy a new flavor of soda.

In the What Will They Think? project, students use their understanding of graphing to make predictions, based on a small set of responses, about how a larger group of people will answer questions about ideas for new food products. The class conducts a survey of themselves, then larger groups of their peers. Based on analysis of the data, students compare the effectiveness of their predictions made by educated guessing, hand-drawn graphs, and computer-generated graphs. In the final step, students write a report summarizing their analysis, write a letter to a food-product company explaining their ideas and findings, and make a presentation to an audience.



Project Notes

  • Subjects: Math
  • Grade Level: 8th
  • Common Core Aligned
  • Time Required: 10-15 Hours
  • CC BY

Sponsored By

FAQs

Ryan was looking for ways to teach his students math through meaningful projects with real-world applications. Like most math teachers, he would often hear students ask during his graphing unit, “When are we ever going to use this?” As a biology major, he had used best fit lines to analyze data that he collected and thought this would be a great way to have kids see a real life application of graphing—and he knew the concept could also be used with market research data. He knew, too, that having a strong technology component would foster greater engagement for his students.

Project Documents

Project Author

Ryan is currently an 8th grade integrated Math/Science instructor and Academic Dean at High Tech Middle North County. He began teaching at High Tech Middle in 2003 and was one of the founding instructors of the school site in San Marcos, California. Ryan has developed and presented workshops for the High Tech High Summer Institute and was a presenter at the Mind Brain Education conference. He is a member of the Distinguished Educators Panel at the Temperate Dynamics of Learning Center at UCSD, where he is working with faculty to bridge the gap between education and neuroscience. He received bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego and a teaching credential at San Diego State University. He was part of the first cohort of graduate students at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education in School Leadership, where he earned his master’s degree in 2010.