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D E S I G N :
Name of Project: Ghost Town/How Long Do We Stay?
Subject/Course: Quantitative Literacy
page 1
Duration: 2 weeks
Teacher(s): Darrell Lewis
Grade Level: 12
Other subject areas to be included, if any: Statistics, Writing, Reading
HS.S-ID.A.2. Use statistics appropriate to the shape of the data distribution to compare center (median, mean) and
Key Knowledge and
spread (interquartile range, standard deviation) of two or more different data sets.
(CCSS or other standards) HS.S-ID.A.3. Interpret differences in shape, center, and spread in the context of the data sets, accounting for possible
effects of extreme data points (outliers).
HS.S-IC.A.1. Understand statistics as a process for making inferences to be made about population parameters based
on a random sample from that population.
HS.S-IC.B.4. Use data from a sample survey to estimate a population mean or proportion; develop a margin of error
through the use of simulation models for random sampling.
Success Skills
(to be taught and
Critical Thinking/Problem Solving:
- Use Excel spreadsheets to group and analyze
- Disseminate data to calculate the means and
compare those means
- The project will end with a shared PowerPoint
which will be presented to classmates, some faculty,
administrators, and guests brought in from FMI.
- Students will keep work and create posters &
additional visual aids to explain their findings
-Analyze different data sets and
share/collaborate on the meaning and significance
- Simulations
- Presentation
For more PBL resources visit
Project Summary
(include student role,
issue, problem or
challenge, action taken,
and purpose/beneficiary)
Scenario: Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) is a natural resources company with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. FCX
operates large, long-lived, geographically diverse assets with significant proven and probable reserves of copper, gold,
molybdenum, cobalt, oil and natural gas. FCX is the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer, the world’s
largest producer of molybdenum, and a significant gold, oil, and natural gas producer. The mining of raw materials
and processes used to collect the desired materials has a direct impact on the lives of mine workers and their families,
as well as, the community of Bagdad, Arizona. The price of copper and molybdenum and the cost of mining these
materials determines whether or not people in the community of Bagdad can continue to provide a comfortable
lifestyle for their families. All of the businesses in the community are depended upon the ratio of the cost to mine,
versus the price, of copper and molybdenum per ton.
The global price of copper and molybdenum (moly) per pound drive the operations at the Freeport-McMoRan copper
mine in Bagdad, Arizona. In the mid 2000’s moly reached its all-time high around $45/lb. It has declined rapidly since
then to its current price of a little more than $6/lb. In 2011 copper reached its high of about $4.50/lb. and has fallen
since then to its current price of $2.05/lb. Due to the sharp declines in the price of copper and moly the company has
been researching ways to extract higher grades of minerals from their mines, and at the same time, find and develop
more productive ways to extract these metals. If this doesn’t happen, people will lose their jobs and the copper mine
may be forced to stop operations. Therefore, Freeport-McMoRan is constantly looking at the tonnage of material being
extracted from each of their mines on a daily and even per truckload basis.
The amount of raw material that is extracted from the mine is measured in tons per truckload. Only a small percentage
of this is actually copper and moly and it fluctuates throughout different locations in the mine. The mine has a milling
process that separates desired material form waste and that is a constant. Therefore, the weight of each truckload is a
significant indicator of the amount of usable and sellable material being extracted from the mine on a regular basis.
It is realized by every Freeport-McMoRan employee that if copper and moly prices continue to decline worldwide,
that means workforces will be reduced and mines will be closed. With that in mind, what can you, as an employees of
Freeport-McMoRan, do to report the daily truckload weights in the safest and most efficient way possible?
(Role) You are a mining engineer at the Freeport-McMoRan mining operation in Bagdad, Arizona and you are
assigned(Situation/Challenge) to gather data from three different sources( on board truck scales, Caterpillar Inc.
weight scales, and surveying data from blasting patterns) to find, if any, significant differences in each of these
measurements and find a usable average truckload weight.
(Goal) This weight is to be given to the dispatch department, which counts each truckload, to use in a daily report of
tonnage of material extracted from the mine. These reports will be sent to (Audience) corporate headquarters and
compared with the mining operation costs to determine if the mining operation at Bagdad, Arizona is productively
efficient enough to continue operating.
For more PBL resources visit
Driving Question
How do the graphs of mathematical models and data help us better understand the world in which we live?
Can we predict the future?
Entry Event
As an entry event I will show video of several mine blasts. I will then move to a discussion of how the exploded
material is moved to places in the mine where the copper and molybdenum are extracted from the raw material. From
this I will explain how the amount of raw material in the truck is used to calculate an average amount of copper and
molybdenum mined. I will show pictures of the mine and the mine trucks. I will ask them to think about why this truck
load weight would be an important number to know. Then I would explain their project to them about coming up with
a number that the mine can use to calculate truck load weight, called the truck load factor.
Written evaluation by each group member for their
specific interpretation of study results.
Specific content and success skills to be assessed:
Did each student successfully address the question of how
the truck load factor is used in the mine (content)?
Written evaluation of the group media project.
Did each student collaborate with the group and
communicate their thoughts reasonably and effectively?
Anonymous peer survey of the rest of the team’s
performance in the task, looking for the 21st century core
Did each student express innovation and creativity in their
posters and visual aids?
Was each student self-directed as judged by their peers?
Media presentation of PowerPoint project
Was each person able to articulate and communicate their
thoughts and ideas about the group project?
Specific content and success skills to be assessed:
Was the question of truck load factor and its relevance to
mine operations clearly addressed?
Was the truck load factor that was calculated justified
As a group, how well did they communicate their results?
For more PBL resources visit
D E S I G N :
page 2
Making Products Public
(include how the
products will be made
public and who students
will engage with
during/at end of project)
- Your patron is your company, Freeport McMoRan, FMI.
- The target audience is your general manager who is looking for the most effective and indistinct data presentation that
will make sense to other employees, and enable management to assess the long term efficiency of the mine.
- You will need to convince the management team (classmates) that your set of equations are true given any
circumstance, with a PowerPoint presentation of your findings and that the set of equations will make sense to all fellow
employees and departments.
Resources Needed
On-site people, facilities:
Administrators, and/or community/mine reps to help judge the final project/presentations.
Computer lab days to research previous Truck Load Factor reports
Computer lab time or laptop cart to explore and work with Excel data
Graphing calculators
Posters, markers, laptops (with PowerPoint & excel abilities)
Community Resources:
Guest from FMM to answer questions about the mine.
Reflection Methods
(how individual, team,
and/or whole class will
reflect during/at end of
Journal/Learning Log
Students will write daily in a journal and reflect on
what they have learned that day. I will check journals
daily for content.
Whole-Class Discussion
Panel discussions about the surveyed data and what
has been learned
All students will be asked to complete a peer
evaluation survey
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Focus Group
Within focus groups students will be asked to give a
proposal concerning the projected truck load factor.
They will need to support their proposal with data
Fishbowl Discussion
Students will be given two opportunities to question
others in the class to gather information and peer ideas
Daily exit tickets
Mine field trip/Schedule/Permission slips
Contact FMM HR and try to schedule someone to visit classroom.
Project: Truck Load Mean Weight
Driving Question: How does the weight of each truck become a predictor of Freeport McMoRan Bagdad operations?
Final Product(s)
Learning Outcomes/Targets
Checkpoints/Formative Assessments
Instructional Strategies for All Learners
Performances, Products
and/or Services
knowledge, understanding & success skills needed
by students to successfully complete products
to check for learning and ensure
students are on track
provided by teacher, other staff, experts; includes
scaffolds, materials, lessons aligned to learning
outcomes and formative assessments
(individual and
 Peer
 Self
 PowerPoint
with Charts
and graphs
of data
 Presentation
must answer
the question
of how
HS.S-ID.A.2. Use statistics appropriate
to the shape of the data distribution to
compare center (median, mean) and
spread (interquartile range, standard
deviation) of two or more different data
HS.S-ID.A.3. Interpret differences in
shape, center, and spread in the context
drives what
of the data sets, accounting for possible
we do and
effects of extreme data points (outliers).
how we do
For more PBL resources visit
Group check-ins: As in students work Show examples of finding mean, median,
with data in Excel, evaluate progress and and standard deviation in Excel
understanding, answering questions.
spreadsheets, if necessary have students
collaborate on inserting data into Excel
Peer evaluation: Each student will fill
out an evaluation sheet about each other.
Question 1: Rate the level of (insert each
other group member name) contribution
from 1 to 4 with 1 being the lowest and 4
being the highest.
Self-evaluation: What is one thing you
discovered in todays work?
Students will be asked to create
frequency tables and box-plots of their
data to compare the different data sets.
Discussion of how economics drives
what we do and how we do it (in relation
to mining) – I will have to discuss copper
value, haul trucks/routes, drilling,
Think-Pair-Share: Near the end of class blasting, and shovel costs.
it (in
relation to
students will be paired off and compare
calculations and graph constructions.
They will share with each of their groups
what has been discovered.
HS.S-IC.A.1. Understand statistics as a
process for making inferences to be
made about population parameters based
on a random sample from that
Students will analyze trend lines to see if
any predictions can be made about the
three different data sets involving truck
load weights (i.e. are there significant
differences?, is the data changing in a
way that is causing the three data
measurements to spread further apart?,
what does this mean in terms of vehicle
Align a lesson that shows how and why
means and differences are a necessary
part of data analysis.
Use real-life FMI data and Excel/TI-83
to model simulations and data input.
Show students how to make
corresponding charts and graphs in
HS.S-IC.B.4. Use data from a sample
survey to estimate a population mean or
proportion; develop a margin of error
through the use of simulation models for
random sampling.
Students will use Excel spreadsheets and If possible have a mine representative
TI-83 calculators to find means of data come and address the class about mine
sets and calculate a margin of error. The operations.
margin of error will be used to construct
confidence intervals.
All data analysis results will be presented Plan a field trip to the mine and have
in a PowerPoint presentation.
students be ready with pertinent
Daily exit tickets that ask:
What do you now know?
What do you need to know?
For more PBL resources visit