Modeling U.S. Census Housing Data With Sinusoidal Functions - Preview

Modeling U.S. Census Housing Data With Sinusoidal Functions

Subject: Mathematics
Time: 2-3 Class Periods

Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, Statistics


The 2-3 day lesson has three related components. The first activity teaches students how to create a spreadsheet that will allow them to calculate the least squared error of a sample data set. The second activity will be to ensure that students understand the effect of the constants in a sinusoidal function, Asin(Bx+C)+D, as well as how to incorporate a general trend line with the sinusoidal function. The third activity will involve downloading data from the Census Bureau website, fitting a curve to the data and analyzing the model by examining the sum of the squared errors.


Housing-starts data for residential construction is a key leading economic indicator.  Decline in the housing market is often used by economists as a signal that economic difficulties are looming.  Successfully modeling these trends, both on a short-term and long-term basis, can help people make decisions regarding the economy and financial markets.

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Computational Thinking in STEM
  • Modeling and Simulation Practices
    • Assessing Computational Models
    • Using Computational Models to Find and Test Solutions
    • Using Computational Models to Understand a Concept
  • Computational Problem Solving Practices
    • Developing Modular Computational Solutions
    • Troubleshooting and Debugging
    • Preparing Problems for Computational Solutions
  • Data Practices
    • Analyzing Data
    • Collecting Data
    • Creating Data
    • Manipulating Data
    • Visualizing Data

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