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Students will apply statistics to real life situations.

  • Students will be able to compute personal percentages.
  • Students will be able to compute personal averages.
  • Students will conduct on-line research of shot data and percentages for professional basketball players.
  • Students will be able to compare computed data to researched data.
  • Students will write a letter informing professional organizations of their findings.

Our goals and objectives are based on Dubuque Community School District Benchmarks for 6th grade which are:

DCSD mathematical standard 2.4: Apply proportional thinking to problem situations including: ratios and proportions and percents.
DCSD mathematical standard 5.2: Organize and display data from statistical investigations using appropriate tables, graphs, and/or charts, including circle, bar and line graphs.
DCSD Technology standard 1.1 and 2.5: Create documents using word processing and simple spreadsheets.
DCSD Technology standard 2.6: Use the Internet to initiate and carry out an informational search.
DCSD Writing standard 3: Students will write clearly and effectively for diverse purposes and audiences.

Students will use technology to investigate percentages, apply them to real life situations, and display/communicate information. The students will listen to a book about professional basketball. A discussion will follow concerning shooting percentages of the pros versus that of the students. Students will engage in centers set up around the room and in the gym that will help them compare their shooting percentage with that of the pros. One center will take place in the gym where the students will shoot free throws and field goals. Another center will use the Internet to gather information on professional basketball shooting percentages. In a third center, students will calculate their percentages. Students will build a spreadsheet using Excel and display their information in graph form in the fourth center. After completing all centers, students will write a letter to their favorite pro team explaining how their shooting compares. They will e-mail this letter to the team along with their graphs.

(Note: This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks. Not all of the following activities/standards will appear in the video clips used.) 


Curriculum Standards


National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Performance


Activating background knowledge. Discuss favorite professional teams, types of shots, etc. Ask how they think their performance compares to the pros.

English Language Arts #3

Grades 6-8: 2

Grades 3-5: 2

Read aloud book Swish byBill Martin and Michael Sampson

English Language Arts #1


Students will be placed in homogeneous groups of 3. Discuss cooperative learning job descriptions (put-ups, recording, equipment manager) and social skill (put-ups). What should it look like during the activity? What should it sound like?  


Groups need to choose a team and have their choice checked by the teacher. Make sure each group picks a different team. Assign students to one of the following centers. Throughout the activity students will move from center to center until they have completed each center.  

Center 1: Each student will shoot 8 shots from the free throw line and 8 shots from various locations in the gym. They will keep track of the number of shots made and missed.  


Center 2: Students will compute personal percentages and group averages to be handed in. Teacher will be available to review how to compute percentages and averages with those students having difficulty. Calculators will also be used for those students who cant divide. Students will check partners work. Math standard #5

Technology #4

Grades 6-8: 4

Grades 3-5: 1, 4

Center 3: Students will use the Internet to find percentages of professional basketball players on their favorite team. They will record them on their worksheets. Students will compare professional percentages to their own. Technology #5

Information Literacy Standard #1

Grades 6-8: 1, 3, 5

Grades 3-5: 3, 4, 5

Center 4: Students will build a database with their information and the information of their favorite professional team. They will print a bar graph and circle graph displaying their information. Technology #4 

Grades 6-8: 1, 3, 6

Grades 3-5: 1, 3, 6

When they are finished with all of the centers students will compose a letter to their favorite team explaining what they did and what they found out. When the letter is finished, they will e-mail it to their favorite team. Build a rubric for a good letter using exemplars from a previous project. (Discuss proper use of e-mail. They may want to include their graphs.)    
Discuss how their performance compared to the pros, how technology can be used to gain and display information, and how we use technology in daily life.   Grades 6-8: 2, 3, 4, 5

Grades 3-5: 2, 3, 4, 5

Networked PCs with Microsoft Office programs and Internet access
LCD Projector
AlphaSmart. Available: /

Web sites:
Websites for various professional basketball teams including:

Microsoft Excel. Microsoft Inc. Available:
Microsoft Word. Microsoft Inc. Available:

Teaching Children Mathematics Basketball Math May 2000 pp 556-559

The rubric used in class will be similar to this one. Since the rubric will be built with the students the day of the lesson there may be some differences.

Score Quality Almost but not quite Unacceptable
  Lists everything you did in correct order. Important steps are listed but not all. Makes sense.

Missing important steps.
  A visual including a chart, table, picture that is used as part of the explanation.
Visual including a chart, table, picture, etc.
No visual.
  Reasons for all of your steps. Reasons for most of your steps. Not enough reasons.
  All of your computation is shown and explained as part of your explanation. It is correct. Most of your computation is shown as part of your explanation. It is correct. Incorrect computation or not enough computation shown.

Student worksheets will also be used as an assessment.
A written test over averages and computing percentages will be administered at a later date.

Chris Nugent, Mathematics Teacher, Fulton School, Dubuque, Iowa,  

John Smith, Multicategorical Teacher, Building Technology Mentor, Fulton School, Dubuque, Iowa,

This is a follow up activity to a Skittles lesson previously taught. As a class we investigated the number of Skittles in a bag using percentages and graphing. Some students needed more practice on writing explanations as well as computing percentages so this activity was developed. This is not a reenactment. However, if it wasnt being videotaped each center would be taught as a separate lesson.

This is the first time I have taught this investigation. What I teach depends on the needs of the students as well as the district standards for our grade level. The purpose of this investigation is to explore percentages and statistics as well as to write explanations. I am very fortunate to team-teach math with our special needs teacher. We bounce ideas back and forth and frequently reflect on our teaching. Are we meeting the needs of our students? Why didnt the activity work as it was supposed to? How are we going to teach that activity the next time?

Trying to motivate sixth grade students in the spring is a difficult job. I also want my students to be real-life problem solvers. Using basketball statistics from the Internet enabled me to both motivate students and apply statistics to real life situations. My classroom has 2 computers. However, there are many computers that I can borrow from other teachers. In order to videotape this lesson, I borrowed 2 computers from another classroom. Since Mr. Smith and I team-teach math, his computer is also available. Usually we roll it in to my room or students go to his room to work. Building a rubric with students helps improve the quality of their work. Having Mr. Smith type the rubric into Microsoft Word as we build it works well. Students can see the rubric on the board, but a hard copy can be printed out for them as well.

Fulton School is located in downtown Dubuque, Iowa, and is a town of about 55,000 people. Fulton School is made up of grades 3-6 and has about 320 students. The Dubuque Community School District has about 10,000 students. Fulton School has a free/reduced lunch percentage of more than 75%. 40% of the students in my class are identified special needs. 25% of my students are black and 75% are white. All of my students speak English.

I have 25 students in my classroom. 18 are boys and 7 are girls. I loop with my class and have had them as fifth graders as well as sixth graders. It is spring of sixth grade and they are beginning to spread their wings. They are a bit more disrespectful of myself as well as others in the class than they were in fifth grade. Homework is not always a priority this time of year. In order to solve these problems we hold class meetings everyday. We discuss positive put-ups, respect, homework completion, and school rules. I try and keep them motivated by planning engaging real life activities like the basketball unit. We do a lot of learning/working in groups since they are so social. The special needs teacher and I team-teach. We are able to work with small groups to provide support to the diverse learners in our classroom. Cooperative learning strategies are effective for my students.

Content Management: I base my teaching on the NCTM standards as well as our district standards. Assessment provides data to help me make decisions about what to teach.

Conduct Management: Students are well aware of the rules of the classroom. We go over expectations before we start an activity. I provide supervision and I enforce the expectations. I use cooperative learning strategies. We talk about what the activity should look like and sound like. Students all commit to following these guidelines. Throughout the activity students are given jobs such as data manager, math resource person, and materials manager. These jobs keep all students involved. Students are also held accountable for work throughout the activity. They must complete the worksheet and write the letter.

Covenant Management: Students are a part of decisions about expectations in the classroom. Class meetings are held regularly. Students are held accountable for their decisions about behavior and academics.

Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model Components Highlighted in This Activity :  
(Note:  This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks. Not all of the elements from the Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model that are described below will appear in the video clips used.)

Enjoyable Setting/Compelling Situation/Active Involvement/Direct Experience: My classroom is an Enjoyable Setting. Activities address a wide variety of learning strategies. Shooting baskets, working in groups, writing the letter individually, and mathematical computation, are just a few of the activities that the students have to complete. Basketball is also a motivating activity that many of the students are interested in. Students are actively involved in shooting baskets and computing their own percentages. They are excited about writing a letter to a professional team and are looking forward to hearing from them.

Thinking Together and Making Meaning: Students have to work in groups to shoot baskets, complete a worksheet, and figure percentages, mean, median, and mode.

Critical Thinking and Decision-Making: Students have to gather data from the Internet. They have to evaluate the data and compare their data to the team data. Lastly, they have to write a letter to the team explaining the activity.

Individual Responsibility and Civil Involvement with Others: Students are responsible for their own learning. They have a job to help the group be successful, but they also have Individual Responsibility for completing their worksheet.

Tolerance: In my classroom, all students are involved and are responsible for their own learning. Special needs students are included as valuable members of the classroom. Students are taught that everyone is smart and can learn.

This activity comes from a Skittles unit done previously. Students needed more experience with mean, median, mode, and writing to explain their thinking. The basketball unit was written to address these skills.

(Learning activity format adapted from National Educational Technology Standards for Students Connecting Curriculum & Technology  org/students )


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