Beats to West

3 Act Math

Act 1

1. Which city has the fastest beat? Which city has the slowest?
2. Write down a guess.

Act 2

3. What information would be useful to figure this out?
4. Write down some questions you have in your head right now.

There are a few directions this lesson can take. First, the students could calculate the average beats per second for each city. They could use this information to create equations and graph the results with Desmos.

City Graphs

This provides an opportunity to talk about which line represents the fastest or slowest beat. A discussion about the effects of rate of change on a line could follow.

Second, the students could also use this data to create scatter plots for each city.
Beats City Data Pic

I set up a Desmos template for quick access.
Desmos Beats Scatter Plot Template

From there, the kids can create lines of best fit and compare the equations of each. Students can discuss why they chose their lines and what they reveal about the data.

Act 3

Note: There may be two ways to get a final answer. The Act 3 video is based on taking the average of the beats per second data given in the Act 2 video. However, Brittany Wright pointed out that the slope of the line of best fit for each city reveals that Atlanta is actually the fastest beat. Depending on your grade level, this could lead to great discussion!

Here’s the graph to prove Brittany’s point.


5. Do you agree with the results? Were there flaws in the data collection?
6. What would happen if Houston had 20 bass hits in 11 seconds?

Common Core Standards
Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical problems, e.g., by reasoning about tables of equivalent ratios, tape diagrams, double number line diagrams, or equations.
Fit a linear function for a scatter plot that suggests a linear association.
represent mathematical and real-world problems involving ratios and rates using scale factors, tables, graphs, and proportions
write, with and without technology, linear functions that provide a reasonable fit to data to estimate solutions and make predictions for real-world problems

Credits: Full list of credits for the videos

2 thoughts on “Beats to West

  1. Wouldn’t you just leave the bpm (beats per minute) of every song? Couldn’t that find out which city has the fastest or slowest beat?

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