Hi! I’ve been asked by Matt, a guy I sort of met virtually last month, to write a post for his blog on my experience presenting The Mullet Ratio to my seventh graders. I learned of this lesson from a fellow #MTBoS member, Kathy, who was generous enough to share ideas with me as I planned this current academic year. I wasn’t really sure what The Mullet Ratio was, but the name was certainly enticing and upon a quick google search, I couldn’t imagine a more entertaining and hilarious way to pass the 100 minute block period with my squirrely 7th graders on a very rainy Tuesday.
The lesson started with the intro question, “have you ever had a bad haircut”. Kids love tangents, so that was a great way to reel them in. I opened the Mullet slideshow with the first of our mullet-y friends, Bayley and Vladimir. One glance and the kids were howling. We flipped through the first few slides and giggled together, laying down the vocabulary and idea of “business in front and party in the back”.
When we arrived at the John Stamos and mustachey prom date slide, the first of the slides with the displayed measurements, we recognized that the party and business were not measured in inches or even centimeters, but rather “dreamy eyes” and “mustaches”. This threw the kids. I found this a perfect chance to discuss units with them. We measured Dreamy Eyes’ party and business in different units (cm, inches, thumbs, post-it notes), and explored the ratios from those measurements as well as a cartoon character I drew on the white board. Students discovered that as long as the unit is the same for the party to business ratio, the mullet ratio will be the same. This was a big and very important discovery for most of the kids.
When we arrived at the Dwayne Schintzius/Andre Agassi slide, not only was I reminded that Andre Agassi’s mullet was actually a wig, we all learned that the mullet ratio of these two athletic icons was nearly identical. This was a great place to stop and let the students figure out why and how. We then went back to my cartoon figure drawn on the board and I asked how I could make another figure with the same ratio. They looked at me with a blank stare. No clue. So I drew a head and some party. We knew the first cartoon’s MR was 5. They told me to measure the new party – I got lucky with 10 inches. Ding! Ding! They got it – business needs to be 2.
So far, good progress with the units discovery and now equivalent ratios. Added to the slide deck, the grand finale was the newly trending “Presidential Reverse Mullet” – Donald Trump’s party on top and business in the back. The hysteria was as alive with this slide as it was with the first 10.
I redesigned the gallery walk handout for the kids to use as they worked in partners (with calculators). I passed the handout out at this point, when I should have passed it out at the start of the opening presentation because instead of them working on white boards to find the MR, they could have been recording on the spots that I had on the handout. They breezed through this part of the activity. I noticed a couple of pairs were not recording business and party, but just the ratio.
My 100 minutes was winding down, so I gave the kids a couple of homework tasks due after a long weekend. One was to measure the MR on my reformatted famous mullets handout. This task, unlike the Gallery Walk, required the students to take the measurements of the party and business. Another was the Andy Warhol self portrait with a double MR, ½ MR and the ideal MR. The students took the most time with the Andy Warhol self-portrait, but unfortunately many didn’t actually figure out the mullet ratio. They only identified the party and business. The final task, done with a sub the following week, was a Mullet Extension activity, which was a nice way to take their thinking one step further and “tie up” Mullet Madness.
To say the Mullet Ratio lesson was engaging is an understatement. The kids had a blast while learning about equivalent ratios, graphing ratios, as well as units of measure and how they relate to ratios. I would have preferred to use another 50 minute period after the initial 100-minute block period for the other activities that I had assigned as homework. Looking forward to showing off my Mullet Madness bulletin board to the parents at Open House next week, and even more excited to revisit this lesson next year!