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BIG Soda Pop

The article, The Decline of ‘Big Soda’, continued our discussions in class on the ethics of corporations in society.  Big soda did not perpetrate the same deliberate lying that we saw with VW, but the soda companies do exert enormous influence over politicians through their lobbying efforts.  The question on the quiz asking if my students thought corporations should be allowed such influence evenly split the class.  It’s a tricky question in that it involves subtleties similar to free speech debates.  Many of my students who argued that yes corporations should be allowed such power, said that this was only fair because health advocates could lobby against the product.  Money and politics is certainly one of those messy ill structured real world problems that does not have a tidy answer, like x = 2!

Questions #1 and #2 are GREAT examples of the difficulty of using proportional reasoning in context.  The questions ask about percent change, but in non-standard ways that caused my students to really struggle with their knowledge on this topic.  I am hoping this was productive struggle as highlighted in a nice article that was shared on the National Numeracy Network listserv, The Best Way to Learn Math is to Learn How to Fail Productively.  In question #1A they are given both total change and percent change and asked to compute the original.  Always very hard to work backwards like this!  Then in #2B I am asking them to compute average percent change and write down the exponential model associated with this type of decay.  This is definitely the most challenging quiz so far this semester.

BIG Soda Quiz 7

  1. In the article, Decline of Big Soda, the graphic below shows that from 2004 to 2012 children consumed fewer sugar-sweetened beverage calories a day which represented a 4% cut in calories overall.

    Soda Calories

    1. Compute the calories overall from this information.
    2. What was the Total percent change in calories overall?
    3. The article talks about how soda lobbyists made campaign contributions to elected officials to defeat a proposed soda tax. Do you think corporations should be allowed to make campaign contributions and influence public policy in favor of their products?
  2. The article, Decline of Big Soda, states that the prevalence of obesity among African-American boys (in Philadelphia) declined by 11.3%, compared with 8.1% for all boys from 2006 to 2013.
    1. The decline in obesity for African-American boys is what % more than the decline for all boys?
    2. Compute the yearly average percent change of prevalence of obesity among African-American boys from 2006 to 2013. Note:  The total drop was 11.3%, I am looking for the average percent change.  If it helps you may use that the obesity rate was 20% in 2006.
    3. Write down an exponential equation that models the decline of obesity for African-American boys in Philadelphia from 2006 to 2013 (assume the obesity rate was 20% in 2006 and use years since 2006 as the input variable).
    4. Use the equation to predict the obesity rate in 2020.
  3. Page 79 in DLS, use the numbers 2,464,000 and 12.7 from Table 2 in a meaningful sentence or two.
  1. Page 84 in DLS:
    1. Use the number 84.7 for All Women in a meaningful sentence.
    2. Assume in 2009 that White Women now have a Mean Referral Rate of 86.3 and  compute their odds of referral.
    3. On page 91 of DLS, Best performs a difficult to follow calculation in the footnote.  Assume that the correct proportion of homosexuals among all teenagers is 6% and re-compute the number of gay teen suicides.


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