A Powerful Proportional Reasoning Lesson

In these crazy times, I wanted to share a positive lesson that actually had the impact I was looking for! Imagine!
I wrote last year about how I was on a proportional reasoning kick. The lesson didn't get the "wow," I was looking for, so I switched it up this year.
Both started with an old project I used one year teaching 7th grade Humanities in an International School in Ghana: http://www.100people.org/http://www.100people.org/statistics_100stats.php?section=statistics:
The 100people site translates the world population into a village of 100 people. I asked the students to to do 3 things: Translate our school population to a country of their choice, present their findings and create a poster with at least 4 info graphics. The students had to determine how many people each student at WHS represented in their country and had to translate 10 aspects of their lives to those of WHS students. We used the above website, that was updated for 2017(!), the CIA World Factbook and the Worldbank Data page to translate a country of their choice to the population of Windsor High School--our suburban high school of 1712 students. It was the start of the new semester and a way to front load proportional reasoning in Geometry.

The presentations were so-so. A few got how to move from "proficient" to "exemplar," (Rubric)with some examples that I provided from my chosen country, Cuba. (Imagine if you were a Freshman an d you weren't allowed to use the bathroom at school. That is how many people in Cuba have no access to indoor plumbing.) I haven't graded the posters yet, but they look amazing, pictures to come. What has got my attention at the moment is the reflection papers. I have been making phone calls home to express to parents my appreciation for what their students have taken away from this project.

Angela on Brazil," We are extremely fortunate for all we have here in the United States and this project opened my eyes to that."
Brandon on his project about Switzerland," These types of projects make proportions fun to learn...This project should continue to be done every year because it will help people understand proportions a bit better."
Colton on his project on Italy, "The main thing I have taken from this project is how lucky I am to have grown up in Windsor with the luxuries I've had. So many times people take electricity, sanitation and drinking water for granted."
Tatiana on Greece, "I found this project to be a cool, eye-opening project and I definitely enjoyed doing it."
(Please note, the first names here sound very Anglo, however, the majority of them have Hispanic surnames.)

The students are now going around doing their presentations in their science classes that are studying food, food access, and contemplating how we will feed our 7.5 billion inhabitants.

Here is the project hand-out and Rubric:If Windsor High School Were...

Please let me know how it goes for you if you try it, or if you have any suggestions. Check back for pictures!


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  1. This looks great! Is there a version of the rubric that describes how each score is earned for students? The one in your attachment is blank. Thanks!

    1. Hi, thank you so much for stopping by! Email me and I will send it to you. The rubric is there when I go to the attachment. It is a very simple one.


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