During my time as a middle school math educator, you would not believe the number of times I was asked, “Why do I have to learn this? How is it going to help me in life?” Not that I could turn every math lesson into a life lesson, but these questions reminded me that math is all around us and that the more I can engage students in real-life situations, the more they will enjoy in the learning process and remember the concepts. A few popular math projects that my students always enjoyed were budgeting for a party, designing a dream home, and making March Madness predictions.
I am not the only teacher who thinks it is important to make math lessons relevant to students’ lives. Here is a collection of videos and lesson plans that will make any learner excited about math!
1. This video features a math teacher named Dan Meyer, who is on a doctoral fellowship at Stanford University. He takes pictures and videos of real-life scenarios that invite students to ask questions that are irresistible to answer. The math is embedded into the related discourse.
2. The Teaching Channel highlights short videos, like the one below with a pre-calculus drone project. The videos capture problem-based math projects that encourage student discourse and long-term retention.
3. PBS has a video series to introduce key Common Core math concepts in 4th-8th grade. Each video focuses on constructing a conceptual understanding of a topic in order for students to better understand related math problems.
4. Ted.com has a collection of videos displaying math in real life. One is about Michael Jordan’s legendary hang time!
1. Mathalicious is a website offering real-world lessons for the secondary level. The lessons not only relate to everyday situations but also invite students to utilize critical thinking skills.
2. Education World has a series of relevant lessons titled ‘Get Real: Math in Everyday Life’. It features new, relevant lessons each week, such as creating a lemonade stand and calculating a car payment.
3. NASA created a collection of brief lessons called Practical Uses of Math and Science (PUMAS). This collection demonstrates many interesting ways math and science are part of everyday life.
4. This website provides a wide variety of lessons with practical and applied math. The lessons are created by teachers and many of them list contact information for collaboration purposes.