Q:

# What are some ideas for high school math projects?

A:

Musical students can analyze Bach's music and look for mathematical patterns, while business-minded students can develop a business plan complete with budgets and sales projections. Math projects are an opportunity to combine math with students' other interests.

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To analyze Bach's music, students work through a fugue for organ, noting the number of bass notes, treble notes and pedals in each bar. Once every note is counted, students create graphs and investigate the ratios between different notes.

Business plans for restaurants and shops provide an opportunity to use mathematical techniques in practical ways. For example, students calculate how much stock they need to buy, how many people they need to employ, and how much they need to sell to make a profit. Students can calculate projected sales and profit figures using algebra.

If students are interested in design and photography, they may enjoy investigating the golden ratio as it applies to celebrities' faces. They can collect images of celebrities and measure various aspects of their faces, calculating the ratios between each one. Students can carry out a survey to discover which celebrity people consider the most attractive and then compare their findings to the calculated ratios.

Students can also use survey projects to learn about the mean, median and mode. They can calculate the standard deviation of different responses and attempt to extrapolate the results to predict a larger group's opinions.

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