Overview: Every four years, we have an amazing real-world opportunity
to think about practical applications of statistics and data analysis: the
Presidential election. Over the
years, we have tried different ways to incorporate the election theme into our
math classes. Last spring, Math 4
students looked at Electoral College reform options as part of their data and
statistics unit. We analyzed the
inequalities within the Electoral College and investigated some potential
reforms. As our national elections
have come increasingly to depend on a few “swing states,” it’s also been a
useful way of teaching students about current events through the lens of data
analysis.
· Students will understand how the rules of our Electoral College mean that there are differences in how much weight an individual’s vote has in a national election. · Students will investigate alternatives to the Electoral College and analyze the pros and cons of different proposals.
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· Articles: this is a great opportunity to include current articles or news clips that discuss the current election.
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· Depending on the class time, it might be good to ask students to choose a reform option use data to support their choice. · Some years we have asked students to develop a campaigning plan, based on where polls have been the closest and where the Electoral votes are most important. · Some years, we have asked students to focus in on one particular state and analyze current polls to make a prediction. Websites like 270towin.com or fivethirtyeight.com are great resources for these types of activities.
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