USA TODAY® Related Activities

 Internet Activity Teacher Notes

Space Spending

Materials: calculator, spreadsheet software (optional), grid paper

Work alone or in a pairs.

The table shows the amount of money spent by NASA for various years. Column 3 shows the actual amount spent. In Column 4, the amounts of money have been changed to equivalent 2001 dollars so that comparisons can be made more easily. For example, \$523.6 million was spent in 1960, but that was equivalent to \$3136.4 million in 2001.

 Year Years Since 1960 Actual Amount Spent in Given Year (millions of dollars) Amount Spent in Equivalent 1996 Dollars (millions of dollars) 1960 0 \$523.6 \$3136.4 1965 5 \$5250.0 \$29,557.5 1970 10 \$3749.2 \$17,133.8 1975 15 \$3231.0 \$10,630.3 1980 20 \$5243.0 \$11,272.5 1985 25 \$7552.0 \$12,460.8 1990 30 \$12,296.0 \$16,722.6 1995 35 \$13,996.0 \$16,235.4

Source: NASA

Procedure for the Activity

Step 1  Write 9 ordered pairs (years since 1960, amount spent in equivalent 2001 dollars). Graph these ordered pairs on a coordinate axes. Connect each consecutive point with a line segment. Describe the graph.

Step 2  Copy or print out the table below. Fill in Column 3 that shows the rate of change between each consecutive pair of points.

 Years Since 1960 Amount Spent in Equivalent 2001 Dollars Rate of Change 0 \$3136.4 — 5 \$29,557.5 (29,557.5 – 3136.4) ÷ (5 – 0) = 5284.2 10 \$17,133.8 15 \$10,630.3 20 \$11,272.5 25 \$12,460.8 30 \$16,722.6 35 \$16,235.4

Step 3  Compare the values in Column 3 to the graph. What do the values in Column 3 tell you about the line segments in the graph? What do the values represent in this situation?

Step 4   First, find the average of the values in Column 3. Then, find the rate of change using only the points (0, 3136.4) and (35, 16,235.4). How do the two values compare?

Step 5   Suppose you would like to estimate the cost of an average-priced lunch in 1960. In 2001, an average-priced lunch was \$5.00. How can you use the table at the beginning of this activity to estimate the cost of a similar lunch in 1960? Estimate the cost of a lunch in 1960.

Step 6   Consider the table at the beginning of this activity. Complete the table below.

 Year Actual Amount Spent in Given Year Amount Spent in Equivalent 2001 Dollars Column 2 ÷ Column 1 1960 \$523.6 \$3136.4 5.99 1965 \$5,250.0 \$29,557.5 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995

Step 7   Describe what the table in Step 6 tells you. How could you use this table?

Wrapping Up the Activity

Make a poster or Web page displaying your tables and graph from this activity. Write a one-paragraph summary of your findings from this activity.