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Learning Math Through an Electoral College Project
by Jonathan Arríaran and Besty Sandler, 6th Grade Teachers

It is not uncommon for math students to  wonder about the practicality of some of the math tasks they learn throughout the year, leading them to ask, “When will we ever use this?” This is not the case for our 6th graders, who recently applied their mathematical knowledge of decimals, percents, and fractions to understanding the voting process. The 6th Grade team met with members of the BCIL Collaborative to design a project where students studied the presidential electoral process to compare the popular vote with the electoral college.

Students examined the distribution of the 538 electoral college votes across the country and calculated the percent of electoral college votes based in California, in small states, and in different geographic regions across the country. Next, students were tasked to consider a real-world challenge: Considering America's voter turnout in prior elections, how might we create a campaign that encourages and inspires people to vote?

One student shared, "Learning about the electoral college was really cool because I got to learn more about the system of the election and I was able to participate more in my family discussions on election night. This related to math because when I looked at the numbers in a different form, I was able to understand it more."

I really liked incorporating what was happening in real life with math," said Ariel F. "I really liked learning this concept while doing math because it’s like I was learning two things at once!"

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