High School Mathematics Problems from Alaska

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Commercial Salmon Fishing

Bobbi Jordan

Standards: Probability and Statistics.

Performance Standards: A6.3.1, A6.3.3, A6.3.4, A6.4.1, A6.4.2, A6.4.3

Concepts: Scatter Plots, Line of Best Fit, Graphing Calculator Activity.

Carnegie Chapter: Analyzing Data and Making Predictions, Connecting Situations to Equations, Graphs, Intercepts and Slope.

Overview: The following unit deals with the commercial fishing of salmon in Alaska from 1970 - 1999. The data is from actual Alaska Department of Fish and Game information from its website, so it can be updated every year if the teacher is interested in doing so. To obtain the information for this unit go to www.cf.adfg.ak.us/geninfo/finfish/salmon/catval/history/1970-99.htm. Or go to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game homepage at www.adfg.ak.us.

Teachers’ Note: For clarification, the Number in Thousands refers to the actual number of salmon harvested - every single fish counted or estimated to be caught. It needs to be noted that the numbers have been truncated and that they are in actual thousands of fish. It is very easy for students to ignore this fact.

The graphing segment of this unit is somewhat complex. It will take students some time to do the graphing by hand, but it can be done. This activity can also be done with the graphing calculator. It makes the graphing easier and gives students some opportunity to learn or practice calculator skills.

Commercial Salmon Fishing

Salmon is an important resource to Alaskans. The commercial fishing of salmon is a major factor in Alaska’s economy. The following table was obtained from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

 Year Number of salmon harvested in thousands Year Number of salmon harvested in thousands 1970 68364 1985 145358 1971 47499 1986 128949 1972 31945 1987 96626 1973 22186 1988 111564 1974 21762 1989 154129 1975 26237 1990 155058 1976 44422 1991 189517 1977 50847 1992 136803 1978 82326 1993 192900 1979 88342 1994 195861 1980 109991 1995 217795 1981 113289 1996 175370 1982 111725 1997 123140 1983 127921 1998 151820 1984 133960 1999 216610

1. a) Which year had the least number of fish caught?

1. b) What was the total number of fish harvested that year?

1. a) Which year had the greatest number of fish caught?

1. b) How many fish were harvested that year?

1. What is the range of the data?

1. What is the median number of salmon harvested?

1. Determine the mean number of salmon harvested between 1970 and 1999.

1. Is there a mode? Why or why not?

1. Which of these measurements best describe the average number of fish harvested from 1970 - 1999? Explain why you chose this measure of central tendency.

1. Create a scatter plot of the data.

1. What units of measure best represent the x-axis?

2. What units of measure best represent the y-axis?

1. What is the general trend of this data?

1. Sketch a line of best fit on the same graph as question #10. What is the approximate slope of this line?

1. What does the slope represent?

1. What is the y-intercept of this line?

1. Is the y-intercept useful information? Why or why not?

1. Use the line of best fit to predict the salmon harvest for 2002.

1. What conclusions can be made from this scatter plot?

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Handbook for Culturally Responsive Science Curriculum by Sidney Stephens
Excerpt: "The information and insights contained in this document will be of interest to anyone involved in bringing local knowledge to bear in school curriculum. Drawing upon the efforts of many people over a period of several years, Sidney Stephens has managed to distill and synthesize the critical ingredients for making the teaching of science relevant and meaningful in culturally adaptable ways."

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