Lesson Plan

Reasoning Through Ratios in Basketball and Fast Food

Engage students' love of basketball (and fast food!) through project based learning!
Justin B.
I am a math specialist for special programs teachers across the county and help facilitate appropriate use of instructional tools (particularly technology) in the classroom as it pertains to math.
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My Grades Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Math

Students will be able to... (from Mathalicious.com)

  • Calculate the number of calories burned per minute for different types of exercise and body weights
  • Correctly write units (e.g. calories, cal/min, etc.) and simplify equations using them
  • Calculate how long it would take to burn off menu items from McDonald’s
  • Discuss effects of posting calorie counts, and what might happen if exercise information were posted instead


  • Demonstrate mastery through application of learned skills through other means
  • Contribute to an always growing online discussion on learned material
Grades 6 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

$320 annual subscription per teacher

Go to the "Newtritional" lesson on Mathalicious: http://www.mathalicious.com/lessons/newtritional-info

Start by showing the video in the teach section: http://www.mathalicious.com/lessons/newtritional-info/teach

This video will show Lebron James and Dwight Howard playing for McDonalds meal.

Lots of dunks, broken backboards, and an old school basketball cameo!  Who could ask for more to get kids attention?

Make sure to print out student handout and lesson guide before starting this.

2 Direct Instruction

So, it's time to go over unit rate!  If you haven't already, sign up as a coach and sign up students for student accounts (with or without e-mails).

If you haven't already taught your students unit rate (the assumption on Mathalicious is that you have), start with the "Rates" section on Khan Academy. I would show the first two videos on Khan Academy (unit rates and unit prices) and also show the Usain Bolt video.

After showing them the Usain Bolt video,TALK about this.  Let the students lead this discussion and see where it goes.  It isn't necessary to do any math (unless students want to) related to to this because we will do this later in the Mathalicious lesson.

The students should have a good foundation on unit rate now.

3 Guided Practice

$320 annual subscription per teacher

Let's go back to the Mathalicious lesson!

You should have printed out the teacher guide that takes you step by step.  It's time for students to try Q1 on their own or in small groups.  Bring them back after about 10 minutes and project Q1 on the board from the Mathalcious site.  You can click on each box to show the unit rates but DON'T do so until students have an opprotunity to respond and possibly debate.

Show Q2 via projection to the class and have a quick 1 minute discussion on that question.

Show Q3, give students 5 minutes to work in groups and discuss how they would do this.  Have one group come up and use your computer to manipulate the graph to show what their answer is.  Ask other groups to agree or disagree and explain.

For Q4, assign each group a celebrity and ask them to fill in the chart for their celebrity.  Project the answers on the board while each group presents. 

Q5 - Totally optional if you have time....

4 Independent Practice

So now, it's time for practice and formative data collection. 

Have your students get on Khan Academy to practice doing "Rate Problems 0.5".

You will receive data to show progress.  Give them 10 minutes.  If they finish early, have them go on to other skills.

5 Wrap-Up

I would have already created a discussion group with your class.  If you haven't, do so now in Edmodo.

You can assign for homework or do another day or do as an extension activity.  Here are some options to post on Edmodo.

1. Have students respond to Q5 on Mathalicious but do so through a question from you in Edmodo.

2. Use the extension questions/projects in the Mathalicious zip file for Project Extensions.  Use these as Edmodo discussion questions.

3. Create your own discussion questions. For instance have students calculate their own time to burn a McDonalds meal.  DON'T require them to do this if they don't want to disclose weight.  Maybe give them another celebrity example?  Leave it up to them.