Grade level teams are planning expeditions this week, and there’s a good bit of overlap between our themes. All of us surfaced some sort of interest in using the BP oil spill to motivate some lessons. With the 10th grade team we share a focus on the environmental effects of the spill, and with the 12th grade team we’re asking students to propose what they should do about it.
With that in mind, I like the above-linked Gas Tax post from the Infrastructurist blog, because there’s so much math to consider, from arithmetic to model-based predictions. (To lift Dan Meyer’s parlance, here’s a “What Can You Do With This?” which, it seems to me, is really becoming a nice tag-line in the math-edu-blogosphere. I’ve been using it for a while as a planning note, and I’m especially interested in applying it to current events/issues, so consider this a first step in that direction.)
The post raises these questions for me, and if I’m brave enough, I’d like to let kids tell me what else they’ll need to answer them: What is an appropriate amount to raise the gas tax? How much should we raise it so that it makes a notable difference in road quality and jobs? What are the alternatives to raising the tax (see the related link Should We Scrap the Gas Tax…)? Even lifting this one from the related links: Is the low gas tax costing you more in car repairs?
As a bonus, here are raised issues of inflation, future traffic congestion, using mathematics to provide evidence for what we value…alright, I’m off to another day of thinking long-term with the team – then happy Labor Day weekend!