Q&A #134

Real-world problem solving

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From: Vasha (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 21, 1998 at 22:42:20
Subject: Real-life problem solving

Real world problems are terrific for getting kids involved in learning. An excellent source of this type of lesson is a company called "Interact." Their catalogs are infrequent - I haven't had one in about 3 years. They were originally founded with material for teachers of gifted students. Some of the mathematical topics were Shopping Spree and MathQuest. They were sort of "genuine, simulated real-world situations." It sounds like you are good at inventing these situations for your students! School supply stores, producing school newspapers, running a penny campaign, are all good topics. Gardening is the rage right now and it certainly integrates a variety of subjects. Grant writing, scale maps, planning, record-keeping, history of foods, native plants, marketing produce, seed germination and storage, etc. Writing and selling booklets of math problems was successful for a friend of mine. Another teacher's class planned and put on for the school a paper fair that was like a carnival only every booth involved used paper objects. The best projects seem to come from classrooms where teachers listen to what students find interesting and use that interest to further learning. I would love to know what you do next! - Vasha

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