Poster-Building Activity:

The overall project of the module is to build a theme-based poster and to use the poster to highlight quantitative information abou that theme.

Time Estimate


Main Idea


20 minutes

Beginning the Theme Poster

What are numerical facts about a topic in which you are interested?

Interntet; Almanac or encyclopedic references; Encarta or other CD-ROM

15 minutes (for teacher workshop)

Assessment and rubric-building

What is a holistic rubric? what constitutes a complete assignment? How does one begin to evaluate writing in mathematics?

Students are asked to choose themes, or topics that are or interest to them, and are asked to search for numerical facts about that theme. The Sears Tower opening activity modles such a theme and many of its related numerical facts.



On the “spur of the moment,” many students may have trouble choosing a theme. Perhaps, explain the project to them at the end of one day’s lesson, and ask them to return the next day with a choice in mind!






Poster-Building Activity Instructions:

1. Give the students sheet with instructions for choosing a theme and finding six numerical facts about that theme. Introduce the poster project and explain that this particular activity is just the beginning stage of building the poster. Over the course of the entire project, there will be several activities that allow the students to contribute information to the poster.

2. Students may need guidance in choosing an appropriate theme. However, one should avoid choosing a theme for the students as much as possible. The power of the activity is in the students’ ownership of the topic.

3. What could be a theme? We’ve seen everything from Star Wars Movies to Lions, Tigers—and, yes!—even Bears. Sports figures and teams work well, e.g., Michael Jordan, National Hockey League, or the St. Louis Rams. Famous architecture works nicely as our opening activity demonstrates. One major point of this module is that almost any topic of interest that the student chooses will contain a wealth of numerical information!

4. Students should be given ample time to research information about the theme, using the Internet if possible. In addition, encyclopedias, almanacs, the Math Teacher’s Book of Lists, and CD-ROM’s (such as Encarta, Microsoft Bookshelf, etc.) are valuable resources for researching a topic. Perhaps planning a half-period trip to the library for this portion of the activity would be a good idea.

5. Encourage students to record their numerical facts on a “scrap” sheet before preparing these statements for the poster. They can create the nice versions on card stock and adhere them to the poster board or they can write them directly on the poster board.

Discussion of Math Content and Related Questions:

While the students are choosing and researching their theme, discuss with individual students what types of numerical information are possibly found within a given topic.

  • As students identify numerical facts about their themes, try to build connections back to the Sears Tower activity. Is the information about a count (quantity) or is it some type of a measure? What units are appropriate for this type of information? What labels are used with these units? Is there specific notation that is needed to express this information? What vocabulary and types of sentences convey this information best?

Throughout this project, students are asked to take ownership of number sense. The mathematical topics that are a basis for this number sense may have been covered in a previous year’s curriculum or earlier in the current year’s topics in your classroom. However, these activities and the poster allow the student to communicate his/her understanding of these foundational concepts.

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