The benefit of working across curricula, of course, is that students can get excited in more diverse ways. "I know they are excited to see the kind of work they can come up with. The range is interesting, and you can tell how proud they are of what they have created. When their work is displayed in the hall, they can always identify some pieces that are really amazing. Whenever I hang a new bulletin board in the hallway, there is always a crowd gathering to see. And the displays become an extension of class because I'll ask questions like, 'Can you identify the corresponding angles?' It's fun to hear them out there talking about the display. Generating discussion is amazing." Making statistics interesting is one benefit of adding an art component. "The posters about rates inspired by Chris Jordan always pull in comments. Students are always surprised to see that some celebrity makes $40 million, and what that means when you look at money per hour or per minute. They are shocked to see just how little someone on minimum wage makes, especially if that person is trying to support a family—those kinds of things always get the most reaction." Lauren, an eighth-grade pre-algebra student, compared the amount of money country pop singer Taylor Swift makes per year with that of a minimum-wage employee. After doing her calculations she came to this conclusion: In my opinion, celebrities are not fairly paid. They are paid substantial amounts just to be themselves and to entertain. Doctors, firefighters, and policemen protect us and save lives yet get paid very little in comparison. Also, minimum wage is not a fair pay. No normal sized family can make it on minimum wage per week. The salary on minimum wage is only at max $300 per week and that is before taxes. Lastly, I believe that you should be paid equally for equal work. Another student, Gideon, compared the actor Brad Pitt's yearly salary with that of a minimum wage employee and came to the following conclusion: What I learned from this project is that rates are a good and easy way to figure out different problems involving money and other things. Do I think minimum wage is fair? In my opinion, right now it's pretty good considering the economy and financial problems. I'm pretty much okay with it as long as people have enough to pay for mortgages, loans, insurance, etc. Do I think celebrities are paid fairly? I think so. Well, some get too much money, but I think it's pretty okay how much they get depending on what they are doing. Why do I think celebrities make higher salaries? I think because they are known around the country people just want to be like them and know more about them. Julie also features her student's projects in Phil-Mont's family newsletter. "We have a strong parent community here, which is very supportive, and they notice when students are performing. Not only that, but often it's the student who is not very good at art, the one who can only draw stick figures and for whom art is not a passion, who sees that he or she can do something artistic and do it well. When I interviewed at Phil-Mont they mentioned that they were looking for someone who could bring other things into the math class, who could tie mathematics concepts in with other activities and ideas." Julie achieves these cross-curricular connections through art.
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