I feel that teaching students to read graphics such as this should be a major focus of the math curriculum. We touch on certain math-specific visual representations of data, but increasingly in our society it is important to be able to understand and dissect various forms commonly used in media as well as having the ability and confidence to approach unfamiliar displays. My purpose for this project was to find graphics that I could use as warm-ups or activities in my class to better reach this goal.
This is a graphic that Sandy introduced in class that I really liked and so I made an activity out of it I could use in a math class. Retrieved from: http://www.economist.com/node/21543174
1) If the average iPad costs $600, how much money does apple get for each iPad sold? How much money goes toward Chinese labor?
2) What does the highlighted sentence “A 20% rise in the yuan would add less than 1% to the import price of an iPad” mean in terms of dollars for a $600 iPad?
3) According to this article http://www.worldsalaries.org/china.shtml, average Chinese labor wages are approximately $600 per month. If we assume this average is based on a 40-hour work-week, how much more would American laborers making $8.50 per hour cost per month?
4) How much would the price of an iPad that currently costs $600 increase if it was made with American labor?
This graphic was retrieved from: http://informationlandscapearchitect.blogspot.com/
It is a great example of an uncommon style of graphic display, but it incorporates concepts like the coordinate plane that students are used to seeing. I would have students explore the similarities and differences between this display and ones they are familiar with to build the skills necessary for approaching new styles of displaying data. I would also ask specific questions to see if students could find information from this graphic. It would also be interesting to see whether or not students could summarize the important relationships shown in the graphic (e.g. population size, health and wealth) using words.
I retrieved this image from http://infostatistics.tumblr.com/post/557258403
It is a good example of a cross-content area activity. Graphics like these are used all the time in health class and in health magazines/ websites. In my experience health teachers didn’t necessarily take time to discuss how to read these graphics and I actually relied upon my strong abilities in math. Students without this confidence or understanding likely need more guidance to comfortably read information in this type of format.
I retrieved this image from http://www.wellsfargoadvantagefunds.com/wfweb/wf/ev/planning/growing.jsp
I would use this image as an activity encouraging students to think critically about the images they see in the media. I would prompt students to take into account the source (and their potential motives) as well as the meaning/ probable accuracy of the data. I would also use this image to relate to their background knowledge in lines of best fit and exponential equations.
I retrieved this image from: http://www.economist.com/node/21537909
I would have students rewrite this image as a normal histogram to show how displays they are used to seeing in math can be rearranged to make something more visually interesting. We would also discuss the added benefit of placing this information on a map to help correlate numbers to geographic regions.