Relationship and Mathematics

Mathematics - Grade 9

This unit of inquiry is not a recipe book but rather a launchpad to inspire new BIG IDEAS. We encourage you to use and/or modify one, or several of the BIG IDEAS below. Adapt it to the grade/ ability level of your students.


Enduring Understanding

Understanding relationships and interpreting information through mathematics


Guiding Questions

Why and how do we ask questions? What is the significance of surveys and data analysis in a diverse setting?


Mind Opening

Choose or devise practices to encourage students to be open to new experiences and ways of thinking in your classroom. For example, the MindUP in-school program.


Discovery and Inspiration:

Launch the Project

Introduce the Theme: Present the Enduring Understanding and Guiding Questions using vocabulary that is appropriate for your grade level.

About Vancouver Biennale: Play a short video.

Create Project Space: Brainstorm ideas to make the project theme visual and visible using bulletin boards, and/or a project corner to share relevant materials and inquiry questions and processes.

Reference Resources:

  Introduction to Sculpture and Public Art Unit Plan for information on how art has evolved over time and the unique experience sculptures and/or public art brings.

Vancouver Biennale 2014-2016 Exhibition Theme: Open Borders / Crossroads Vancouver.

Vancouver Biennale Legacy: Engagement  (Dennis Oppenheim, USA)

About Artist and Artwork (PDF)


Other Resources

Visit Survey Monkey Website

Visit Vote Compass: BC Provincial Election (by CBC) Website


Learning to Learn:

Art Inquiry

Make a visit to Engagement and encourage students to freely explore and interact with the art pieces individually and in groups. This Art Inquiry process enables the students to practice observing, describing, interpreting, and sharing visual information and personal experiences. Use the Art Inquiry Worksheet (PDF) to guide and capture their ideas and impressions. Customize or create your own Art Inquiry Worksheet as appropriate for your project and class needs.


Shared Insights

• Sharing Art Inquiry Experience: Ask students to share the Art Inquiry Worksheet responses in class.

Artist Themes – Research: In small groups students rotate between information stations detailing the artist’s life and work. Station topics include: (1) education and training; (2) lifetime of artwork; (2) materials and processes; (3) beliefs and values. At each station, students answer questions and complete a task. For example, at the station “life’s work” students might plot the artist’s various installations on a map of the world.

Artist Themes – Understanding Relationship: Other than the romantic connotation, ‘engagement’ may be interpreted as the representation of relationships and connections. Ask students to work in groups and come up with instances where conducting a survey will provide insights in an environmental issue and how it relates to Vancouver.


Inquiry Challenges

Research Survey Challenge

The students are asked to carefully plan and implement a research project. Working with a partner, the students will decide on a topic of interest, develop a research question, choose a sample group, and then collect, summarize and report the data. Once you have completed the research, students will identify a special interest group to ensure your data is used in an impactful way.

When selecting the research topic, students are to consider critical success factors such as choosing topics that are of interest to the team, availability of information, whether it is appropriate for a Grade 9 class, and if it is interesting to the audience.

The research project is to cover the following three components:

1. Question

a. Selecting and formulating the question – Students are to think about what purpose the questions serve. Are there factors in your question that may influence the data, and what makes good questions? Consider pre-testing the questions before the actual survey.

b. Hypothesis – Can you make a statement about what you believe will be the results of the research?

c. So what? – Identify a group of people that you feel will benefit from your results.

2. Population

a. Who? – Who are the people that are the focus of your study? (consider their age, education, etc.)

b. Sample Size? – What section of your population are you actually going to survey? How many people are in the sample?

c. Technique? – Discuss possible methods for sampling and the pros and cons of each method. Consider combined methods as an option. How will you conduct your survey? (e.g. blog, door-to-door, etc.)

d. Type of sampling? – What type of sampling method will you be using? (e.g. random, convenience, voluntary, etc.). Students are to provide reasons for the chosen method.

3. Result

a. Collecting Data – How will you send out the survey? How will you collect the results? Prompt the students to think about biased vs. unbiased surveying.

b. Data Analysis and Summarizing – What does your data mean? Review and discuss what is the most valuable information from the collected data? What were your reactions to the results? Were you surprised?

c. Reported Data – How can you show the results of your data? (e.g. graph and tables) Can your results be easily understood? What information do you want to highlight or emphasize? How do you do that? Discuss how you came to decide upon the chosen method.

At the end of their research project, students will present their work by incorporating all aspects of their project in a presentable manner. Students should also explain what they have learned or challenges that were encountered while conducting this research project.


Student Creations and Taking Action

Students and teachers can determine the platform at which they would like to present their survey research project. The use of posters, videos, PowerPoint, blogs and a Math Fair may be considered. While the project may be displayed in various ways, the students must be able to articulate their discoveries in a presentation to the class.

Students can identify the groups of people to report the research results to and describe how they may use the information in a positive way. One part of the planning stage is thinking about how you will use the results. Your objective when creating survey questions is to keep the survey as brief as possible while still gathering all pertinent information.

Using the results that the students have gathered based on their survey research project, the students can summarize their results on a one page poster and contact special interest groups that may benefit from their results. Moreover, the posters can be used to educate and inform a wider population who may have limited knowledge on the topic.



• Teacher and students can reflect on their entire learning process by revisiting the Enduring Understanding and relevant Guiding Questions.

• How did the unit of study open inquiry, create cross–curricular learning opportunities and/or apply learning to real life situations? Has this unit of inquiry changed your opinions, values and world view? In what ways, if any, has it helped you grow as a learner?


Ideas for Cross-Curricular Access

  Business Education – Media: Investigate how top media outlets such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, etc. use survey and data analysis techniques to benefit the company or their audience. Sample questions may include, “How do media outlets provide improved services for their audience?,” “What is the relationship between the use of surveys and revenue?”

  Health Psychology: Students can sample the school population using survey and data analysis techniques to determine the relationship between behaviours and their impact on productivity.

  Science – Environmental: Using similar research techniques, students can conduct a survey on a current environmental issue. The results of the student survey may be compared with the general population.


Written by Vanessa Tam. Inspired by Grade 9 mathematics project by Kelly Skehill, Mathematics Teacher at West Vancouver Secondary School

©2013 Vancouver Biennale