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North Lawndale College Prep Charter HS Senior Project: 100 Sample Math-based Driving Questions 2011-2012 Good Driving Questions are provocative; are open-ended, not close-ended; lead to argumentative claims/essays/presentations; are challenging; and are more specific than they are vague. Sample Driving Questions: 1. Is math gender specific? 2. Fractals are a series of functions within functions that, when graphed, replicate what we see in nature. Does mathematics explain the natural order of our surroundings? 3. Chaos theory – does chaos create order or does order create chaos? 4. Do mathematical concepts really solve crimes? 5. How does geometry influence 2-D art? 6. How does geometry influence architecture? 7. Why is a 20% interest rate for home mortgage considered usury? 8. How does the debate about the debt ceiling affect the economy? 9. Are new ideas in math inventions or discoveries? 10. How can the numbers in Pi be used to predict outcomes of events? (can be tied to #1 if needed, can also be specifically focused on financial gains and losses) 11. How does a mathematician (choose name) affect society? 12. How does the lottery work? 13. Is there always one right answer in math? 14. Is math knowledge inherited or learned? 15. How will the exponential rate of growth in technology determine the future? 16. Do calculators inhibit or prohibit one learning math? 17. How are graphing calculators helping students learn math? 18. How does our national education policy compare to other countries? 19. Why are America’s math scores lower than Asian math scores? 20. How does learning music help you with math? 21. How does learning languages help you with math? 22. Do you use math in everyday life? 23. How has the cost of the war in Afghanistan affected the American economy? 24. Is there a correlation between ACT test scores and where you go to high school? 25. Compare retail transactions in North Lawndale to Little Village. 26. Does the order of mathematics point to the existence of a higher being? 27. Why is Chicago (or ________ city/state) in so much debt? 28. How did sub-prime lending contribute to the recession in the United States? 29. How has counting evolved over time? 30. Why was zero considered a dangerous idea? 31. Are the Orders of Operation the proper way to simplify and what made it right? 32. Are mathematical proofs correct? 33.Does math relate to intelligence or are you just good with numbers? 34. How does success in algebra relate to the success of high school graduation? 35. How do errors/mistakes help one learn mathematics? 36. What is the appropriate sequence of math courses in high school? Geometry then Algebra, or Algebra then Geometry? 37. How does a teacher generate a culture of reasoning and sense-making in the classroom? 38. How has the instruction of math evolved to get students to think like mathematicians? 39. How and why does NLCP allocate its funds? 40. How does our nation’s plan for (math) education help or hurt us when compared to other nation’s plans? 41. Will we ever know all there is to know about math? 42. How are the concepts of zero and infinity related? 43. How is credit card interest impacting the American society? 44. How do math concepts affect city planning? 45. What are the benefits/disadvantages of compounding interest on American society? 46. What are the effects of gambling/casinos in a community? 47. How could math concepts help America’s weight epidemic? 48. Calculus vs. Statistics: Which will help me succeed in college/my career choice? 49. Should overpopulation of the earth by humans be a real concern to scientists and citizens? 50. Should the United States adopt the metric system? Why or why not? 51. Based on the Monty Hall problem, would you change your initial decision if the third door revealed a goat? 52. Is the stock market predictable? 53. Using math to justify, what is the ideal grading scale for a high school? 54. If you were a contestant on Deal or No Deal, would you use a mathematical strategy to maximize your winnings? 55. Prove or disprove that 0.999999… and 1 are the same number. 56. How does having mastery over your basic multiplication skills make you more successful in high school and college mathematics if you can use a calculator? 57. How does a high school math curriculum that is structured solely to prepare students for the ACT prepare students for college mathematics? 58. What is the relationship, if any, between understanding mathematics and being literate? 59. How is the study of pure mathematics significant for applied mathematics? 60. How do states’ percent allotments toward income tax, property tax, or sales tax impact their economy? 61. Why is USA refusing to convert to the metric system? 62. How can understanding mathematics help you in your future profession and life? 63. How much math is being used to predict the weather? 64. Does playing video games improve kids’ math skills? 65. At what age should kids start learning mathematics? 66. What is the math involved in building a bridge- both cost of materials and construction 67. How does math education differ from country to country? Are there countries/schools/continents doing a better job than others? 68. How are statistics utilized on online dating sites like OK Cupid? 69. Explore the debate over who invented calculus. Whose side are you on? 70. What is Zeno’s paradox? 71. How many people would you have to be put in the same room in order for more than one to share the same birthday? Why is this so? 72. How is mathematics used in the composition of music, especially classical music? 73. Is it important for every person to learn algebra and trigonometry well? (Should all high school students be required to take mathematics courses?) 74. Do college students with high math skills have more successful careers than their peers? 75. As the American economy has shifted away from manufacturing and towards technological innovation in the last century, has the study of mathematics become more or less important to a student’s education? 76. Is it more difficult to succeed in high school math classes than it is in English classes? 77. Where does science cross the boundary between fact and faith (i.e., string theory — see Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe)? 78. Why is the recruitment and retention of minorities to STEM fields so difficult? Is it even possible to bridge the gap between minorities and whites? What about the American/International ratio of students going into these fields? 79. The Digital Divide – does it really exist? How can we close the gap? (What are societies like NSBE and SHPE doing to mitigate the issue?) 80. Several years ago it was reported that more black men were in jail than in college. A couple of years later, the statistic was found to be in error (because of the way the stats were reported). Everyone has heard of those findings, but not many have heard the correction. What was its impact on the international image of black men in America? What other statistical errors has the media made and what are their effects? Is there a slant in the media toward the criminalization of American blacks? 81. Is there an overemphasis on ACT scores as preparation for success in college? Should schools base their curriculum on solely ACT’s standards? 82. How has the cost of college in our current economy affected families after students enroll? 83. How has the cost of college made two year colleges (junior colleges) a more viable option for students? 84. How do colleges continue to raise tuition every year — and why isn’t there a cap on how much they can raise tuition? 85. Have careers that have been seen as vocational (barbers, hair dressers, truck drivers, auto mechanics, etc.) been more lucrative than the average college grad when you factor in school loan debt and the current job market? 86. Why do Selective Enrollment Schools in CPS outperform their more affluent suburban peers even though those suburban schools spend more per pupil? 87. What role has statistics played in the development of sports? 88. How has statistics influenced the decisions people make? Is there more or less moral hazard? 89. How much influence does math have on scientific discoveries? 90. How has math driven philosophy? 91. How has the computer influenced innovation in math? 92. How do mathematicians do research? 93. How does math influence (or relate) to music? 94. How does math play a role in medicine? 95. How can math solve federal budget crisis? 96. Are there infinitely Fibonacci numbers? 97. Men Lie, Women Lie, but when do numbers actually lie? What are some common number misconceptions? 98. Why is the Mobius Strip so interesting? Describe how this idea influenced industry (in application). 99. How have tools been used to assist us in counting and calculating? Discuss the evolution of counting tools from the dawn of counting (for example, the abacus) to the present. 100. How much money do hip-hop artists really make as a percentage of their record sales? What are the economics behind hip-hop?
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