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Topic: When am I going to use this?
Replies: 6   Last Post: Mar 27, 1995 10:22 AM

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Karen Dee Michalowicz

Posts: 215
Registered: 12/4/04
When am I going to use this?
Posted: Mar 25, 1995 8:43 AM
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I am convinced that the more often that a teacher uses real
world applications with students, the less often a teacher will
hear, "When am I going to use this?"

I work with upper elementary and middle school students. I
have a project a month which has some kind of application of
the mathematics my students study. This month we made kites.
We had to take a template that was about 4 by 6 inches and
enlarge it by some factor. We used either metric or customary
measurement. Do you know how difficult it is to make a
rectangle by hand? Anyway, we used ratios, fractions,
decimals, had to estimate how much the kite cost from the cost
of the materials, etc. The kids loved it. I also could
evaluate metric literacy, decimal literacy, etc.

In April we are going to look in the want ads in the Washington
Post or the New York Times and find a job. Based on
information from our library about salaries, we will do our
income tax. To make it simple, it will be as a single person
without any deductions. This is our springbreak and job
hunting was their homework assignment over the break.

In May we are going to design a scavenger hunt which that can
be used with the other classes. A pair or trio will be
assigned together to go through the school and school yard and
look for mathematical things. For example, a rectangle that
has an area of 36 sq in on a face. The location of a
palindrone. There's all kinds of possibilities.

Mind you, these are activities that I designed for middle
school students. However, there are secondary applications,

Just some thoughts.


Karen Dee

Math History Lives!

Karen Dee Michalowicz VQUEST Math Lead Teacher/Trainer
Upper School Mathematics Chair Virginia Quality Education
The Langley School in Sciences and Technology
1411 Balls Hill Rd, McLean, VA
22012 USA
703-356-1920(w) E-Mail:
Fax: (703) 790-9712 --or--

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