GERRY-WHO!?!

OR

REAPPORTIONMENT OF CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

Matt Lohsl Leo Paveglio Lora Rich Becky Tunnell

Class: Pre-Algebra, General Mathematics, Tech-prep

Materials: Calculator

Goals: In groups, students will apportion the imaginary state of Computia into congressional districts.

Time

Required: One class period for the project and one day for presentations.

Background: Students should have some understanding of how they are represented in Congress. They should be familiar with terms like congressional districts, census, apportionment, gerrymander, redistricting and the concept of Aone man, one vote.@

Setting: After each census, the U.S. House of representatives is reapportioned, based on changes in the population of each state. Some states gain seats in the House, while others lose or remain the same. Once the number of seats have been determined for each state, it is the responsibility of the state legislature to decide how those seats are allocated within the state.

Problem: You have been assigned the task of defining the seven Congressional Districts in the state of Computia. Computia is a tranquil coastal state and is bounded by industrial states on the three remaining sides.

Portions of the coast of Computia are major points of shipping and international trade, other areas have developed as recreational retreats for the financial giants from the neighboring states, some are very exclusive. The interior, at one time, was agricultural, however, more recently high-tech engineering and research facilities have formed the base for the economy.

As a result of the most recent census, Computia will have seven representatives in Congress. Each congressman will represent the citizens of a district. It is your responsibility to draw the district boundaries. The districts you create should be compact, contiguous and be as equal in population as possible.


You are to make an oral presentation of your recommendation. The report should include a statement of the problem, the assumptions you worked with, a discussion of the problems you encountered and how you dealt with them, and a clear statement of the conclusion. Visual aids are encouraged.

Sample Solution:

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The population of Computia is 7,000,000, so each of the seven districts should contain approximately 1,000,000 citizens.

The solution at the left is only one. It may not be the best. There are some difficulties posed by the wide range in county populations.

ACan counties be split?@, that is up to you. It was intentionally left vague to allow students and teachers maximum flexibility.

A blank map is provided for students to draw the borders of their districts, or to use as a pattern to trace the boundaries on a transparency for class presentation.

Evaluation: The oral component will be a group report. It should include a summary of the process used and the findings. Visual aids (charts, overhead slides etc.) are encouraged.

The individual component asks the students to write a reflection on the problem - what would they change - is there another way to approach the problem - how well did the group function.

Extensions: This project lends itself to an interdisciplinary approach. Working with the social studies department is a natural extension.

Examine the districting in your state

o Try to determine why some districts are shaped as they are

o How compact are the districts?

o How many people are represented in each district?

Teacher Notes: Any resemblance between the map of Computia and the profile of Elvis or any other person or fictional character is strictly coincidental.


GERRY-WHO!?!

OR

REAPPORTIONMENT OF CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

You have been assigned the task of defining the seven Congressional Districts in the state of Computia. Computia is a tranquil coastal state and is bounded by industrial states on the three remaining sides.

Portions of the coast of Computia are major points of shipping and international trade, other areas have developed as recreational retreats for the financial giants from the neighboring states, some are very exclusive. The interior, at one time, was agricultural, however, more recently high-tech engineering and research facilities have formed the base for the economy.

As a result of the most recent census, Computia will have seven representatives in Congress. Each congressman will represent the citizens of a district. It is your responsibility to draw the district boundaries. The districts you create should be compact, contiguous and be as equal in population as possible.

You are to make an oral presentation of your recommendation. The report should include a statement of the problem, the assumptions you worked with, a discussion of the problems you encountered and how you dealt with them, and a clear statement of the conclusion. Visual aids are encouraged.


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Funded in part by the National Science Foundation and Indiana University 1995