# Election Mathematics.

The "Math by the Month" activities are designed to appeal directly to students. Students may work on the activities individually or in small groups. No solutions are suggested so that students will look to themselves as the mathematical authority, thereby developing the confidence to validate their work.

This month's activities combine mathematical applications with learning about the system of voting in the United States, collecting data about pertinent issues, and interpreting results.

WEEKLY ACTIVITIES

ELECTION NOVEMBER

MATHEMATICS: K-2 2000

6

Stacking and graphing. Ask your teacher for a piece of paper with a picture (net) on it like the one shown here. Before you cut out the net, draw or write your favorite color, pet, sport, fruit, season, and number, using one square for each choice. Then cut, fold, and tape the net to make a cube. As a class, stack your cubes to make bar graphs showing how each student 'Voted." For example, for the pet graph, all the students who chose dogs would stack their cubes next to those of the students who chose cats, and so on. What can you find out from your graphs?

13

Class survey. How do your classmates get to school? Put large loops of rope on the floor, and label the loops by bus, car, or bicycle or on foot. Stand in the loops that describe how you get to school. Students who come to school in different ways on different days should stand in an intersection. Those who come to school in a different way should stand outside the loops. What does the survey tell you?

20

What is your prediction? Put three differentcolored cubes or chips in a bag. Predict what results you will see if you pick a cube from the bag, record its color, and replace it. Perform this experiment thirty times, keeping track of your results. Tally the data on a chart. How did your results compare with your prediction?

27

November elections. Choose an issue that the class can vote on, such as whether recess should be in the morning or afternoon. Display the vote results on a chart. Graph the votes by coloring squares on a bar graph. Make sure that you give your graph a title and labels. How does the graph display the results of the vote?

WEEKLY ACTIVITIES

ELECTION MATHEMATICS: 3-4 NOVEMBER 2000

6

The language of chance. Place four yellow cubes and one blue cube in a paper bag. Is it possible to reach into the bag and pick a blue cube on the first try? How likely is it that you will pick a blue cube? Ask questions using the language of chance, including such terms as possible, impossible, likely, more likely and less likely. How can the language of chance be applied to the elections that are going on this month?

13

What shall we wear for the game? Each member of the class volleyball team has three uniform tops of different colors and three pairs of uniform pants of different colors. Draw pictures of each of the pieces of clothing, then use your pictures to help you find the number of different uniforms that the team members can wear for their next game. How can our presidential candidates use this method to determine how to campaign in three different states on three different days?

20

Surveys and attitudes. Make a survey having at least three questions and at least four choices for each question. For example, "Which do you prefer: hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, or spaghetti?" Survey your classmates, and tally, organize, display, and graph the collected data. Predict how students in other classes might respond to the same issues. Repeat your survey with another class. Compare and interpret the results.

27

Girls versus boys. Have each member of your class vote for one of the presidential candidates. On the ballot, each student should indicate whether he or she is male or female. Create a double-bar graph that shows the results. For example, how many girls and how many boys voted for candidate 1? What conclusions can you draw from looking at your double-bar graph? Discuss with your classmates possible reasons for your conclusions.

WEEKLY ACTIVITIES

ELECTION MATHEMATICS: 5-6 NOVEMBER 2000

6

Studying the polls. Have each member of your class vote for one of the presidential candidates. On the ballot, each student should indicate whether he or she is male or female. Tally the results. Determine what percent of males voted for each candidate and what percent of females voted for each candidate. Create a circle graph for male votes and one for female votes. What conclusions can you draw from looking at your circle graphs?

13

Electoral votes. The president of the United States is elected by the electoral college, which consists of 538 electors, not by a popular vote. The candidate who wins the popular vote in a state usually wins the electoral votes from that state, but the electors actually determine who will be president. Visit the Web site www.nara.gov/fedreg/elctcoll/votebyst.html to find out the number of electoral votes allotted to each state. What is the fewest number of states that a candidate would need to win to be elected president? List the states that the candidate must win in this type of victory.

20

Census 2000. During the past year, the United States Census Bureau has been collecting data about everyone living in the United States. Participating in the census is a civic duty and is one way for people to get involved in the democratic process. Visit the Census Bureau on the Internet at factfinder.census.gov to research the population of each of our fifty states. Determine which state is the most densely populated. What other issues in society are affected by the census that is conducted every ten years?

27

Rank the issues. During a campaign, many issues, such as crime, job security, budget, health care, education, and taxes are debated. Have your classmates rank these issues in order of importance to them. Let 1 stand for the most important issue and 5, the least. Tally your results, and decide on some method to display the results. Compare your display with those of your classmates. Discuss the benefits of each method of displaying results.
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