Overview: Middle or high school students use data gathered in the form of portfolios to consider their cumulative learning over time in math or another class.  Individuals plot their data on a class graph and use the line of best fit (i.e. a graphical representation of the average of the data) in order to make predictions, set personal goals, and determine future actions.

Lesson Objectives

Curriculum Context

Systems Thinking

Students will be able to:

  • determine if the data in a scatter plot graph does or doesn’t represent a correlation.   

  • draw a line of best fit for individual and class data.   

  • use the line of best fit to predict the amount of learning that will occur in fourth quarter.

This lesson can be used with students who are beginning to learn algebraic concepts of linear equations as well as with advanced math students who already know linear regression (i.e. line of best fit) and/or correlation concepts (i.e. relationship between two variables).  The lesson can also be used in other curriculum settings without teaching the mathematical concepts.

NCTM Algebra Standards:

  • Recognize, describe, create and analyze patterns.   

  • Analyze functions of one variable by investigating rates of change.   

  • Interpret representation of functions.   

  • Draw reasonable conclusions about a situation being modeled.   

  • Approximate and interpret rates of change from graphical and numerical data.
  • Patterns and trends

  • Change over time

  • Temporal boundaries




Systems Tools

  • Butcher paper 

  • Student portfolios

  • Rulers

  • Meter stick

  • Iceberg visual (extension)

  • Markers

  • One 50-minute class period

  • Behavior-over-time graphs

    Iceberg Visual (Extension)


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