Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Google Public Data Meets Common Core

When educators talk about Common Core we are really meaning critical thinking, problem solving, more rigorous and increased time to spend on learning deeply. In mathematics class we often get caught up in all the numbers instead of the thinking. Modeling in math is one of the best ways to incorporate real thinking and problem solving. This post is about how to use data from Google connected to Google Apps to help teachers think about modeling and its impacts. In the end check out the lesson plan Datapaloza that I have written for my book Google Apps Meets Common Core. 

Google provides educators with an extensive database on many topics. Flu trends is a great example. Think of all classroom activities that could be done with this!

Google Data Explorer is a collection of data from the World Bank, World Health Organization and various other open free public data sources. The magic is when Google uses its power to organize this information in the form of graphs and charts. This is not your old business teacher's version of MS Excel charts and graphs. It is a fluid dynamic mathematical modeling machine that can help people understand and apply data to become better decision makers. The dynamic graph in this example is fertility rate vs. time in years compared across the countries of the world.

Please click the picture of the graphs to go to the live site.

Press the play button to watch the graph come alive. Watch the countries as they change in life expectancy, fertility rate and year. Manipulate this graph by clicking on the colored boxes in the right hand side to turn on or off the countries listed.

 Questions to consider for a Common Core class.

  1. What are the richest countries in the world and how does fertility rate compare to poorer countries?
  2. What happens to Rwanda in the 1990's. 

Use the power of Google to read beyond the numbers of mathematics. Its not all about the numbers and computation it is about being a better decision maker.