Mathematical Explorations of the People’s Design Award
By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, October 3, 2007
- Middle School
- People's Design Award
- Language Arts
Standard 6. Understands and applies basic and advanced concepts of statistics and data analysis.
Level III. 3. Adds and subtracts fractions with unlike denominators; multiples and divides fractions.
6. Uses proportional reasoning to solve mathematical and real-world problems (e.g., involving equivalent fractions, equal ratios, constant rate of change, proportions, percents).
Level III. 6. Makes oral presentations to the class (e.g. uses notes and outlines; uses organizational pattern that includes preview; introduction, body, transitions, conclusion; uses a clear point of view; uses evidence and arguments to support opinions; uses visual media)
Students will do the following:
- gather data
- graph collected data
- design an original contest
- create a presentation
- host a class contest
- “And the Winner is…” handout
- “Design a Contest” handout
- Various Web sites
- Computer with Internet access
- Classroom supplies: markers, colored pencils, paper
The purpose of this activity is to provide an opportunity for students to graph data.
1. As a class, visit the 2007 People’s Design Award Web site at
Select “Browse by Location.” Record the number of nominees by state.
2. Divide the class into pairs. Ask each group to create a graph of the recorded data. Ask for volunteers to share their graphs.
The purpose of this activity is to give students an opportunity to collect and analyze data.
1. Divide the class into pairs. Ask the students to visit the 2007 People’s Design Award Web page that features the nominees at http://peoplesdesignaward.cooperhewitt.org/2007/.
Ask each group to choose one page of nominees, and print it to use in this activity.
2. Provide each group with a copy of the “And the Winner is…” handout.
Tell the students to ask people of varied age ranges to look at their printed page of nominees, and vote for their favorite nominee. Tell the students to ask each voter the reason for his or her choice, and record the reasons on the back of the handout.
3. After the students are finished with the surveys, ask them to complete all sections of the handout to determine the winning nominee based on the votes they collected.
Activity Two: Design a Contest
The purpose of this activity is to provide students with an opportunity to create an original contest where the winner can be mathematically determined.
1. Divide the class into small groups. Give each group a copy of the “Design a Contest” handout and allow each group time to complete it.
2. Provide time for each group to present its design plan to the class. When the presentations are complete, ask the students to vote for the contest they would most like to participate in. Determine the winner mathematically, by identifying the top vote-getter.
Create a class rubric with your students that will help them understand the effectiveness of their work. Use the following guidelines to help create the rubric.
- Rate the effectiveness of your presentation in conveying your ideas about the contest.
- Rate how well your group was able to collaborate.
- Rate how well your group described the contest criteria.
- Rate how well your group designed a contest that was applicable to the class.
- Rate how well your group established the way to determine the winner.