Our collection of Math Resources has multiple pages designed for teaching within specific grade bands. You'll also find valuable collections of support and enrichment resources that will benefit all learners.
Math Resources (Page 1): Elementary and Middle Levels: Basic Mathematics and Skills Development, plus apps for mobile devices
Math Resources (Page 2): Middle, Secondary, Post-Secondary Subject Specific Resources, including apps for mobile devices: Algebra and Pre-Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, Probability, Trigonometry, Precalculus and Calculus
Math Resources (Page 3): K-12 Supplementary Collections on this page include:
Math Resources (Page 4): Enrichment and Extra Help: Math Contests, Competitions, Challenges, and Camps; Study Skills and Homework Help, plus tips for parent involvement; and Dictionaries, Glossaries, Reference Sheets, and Math Encyclopedias
Math Resources (Page 5): Lesson Plans and Worksheets, Design and Manage Your Own Lesson Plans, and Publishers' Textbook Support Sites
Math Resources (Page 6): Resources for Podcasts and Vodcasts and for Whiteboards, including tips on using whiteboards
Fields of Mathematics Interactive Mind Map
Use the Fields of Mathematics Interactive Mind Map by Antonio Gutierrez of GoGeometry.com to introduce your learners to the broad field of mathematics. This mind map elaborates on multiple categories within seven fields: the mathematics of quantity, space, change, structure, foundations and philosophy, discrete mathematics, and applied mathematics. This is a great find!
BrainPOP produces educational animated movies and is award winning. K-12 movies address science, technology, health, math, and special topics, including online safety. The online math movies include topics in algebra, geometry, data analysis/probability, problem solving, measurement, and numbers/operators. There are homework help, puzzles, activities, prizes, and more for registered users.
Cut the Knot Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles was developed by Dr. A. Bogomolny, former Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Iowa turned software developer. It contains numerous games and puzzles on mathematics including arithmetic, algebra, geometry, probability, and calculus. There are pages for interesting math facts, proofs, analog gadgets (use of compass, scissors, rulers, etc.), mathematics as a language, and more. This site has some highly interesting intellectual material on mathematics, and links to other sites.
Eduhound.com is a complete resource for K-12 in over 50 categories. See the Education Plaza for resources specific to your state along with searchable database of suppliers, services and solutions targeted to individual states and districts. Thousands of vendors are catalogued with products ranging from instructional software to handheld devices and printed materials.
FactMonster.com is an award winning site that features an atlas, almanac, dictionary, encyclopedia, and individualized homework help. Students can get facts on a range of subjects including math, the world and news, U.S., science, sports, people, and more. There are games and quizzes also. Among press releases is the March 2001 recognition in the NCTM News Bulletin, WebBytes, which highlighted the site as a reference source.
The Internet Mathematics Library from The Math Forum at NCTM contains math topics, math education topics, resources with subdivisions for elementary, middle school, high school, college, and research. Resources, for example, include educational materials, internet-based projects, organizations, publications, and software. You'll also find a section devoted to resources for the Common Core State Standards.
LearnAlberta.ca provides multimedia online resources for K-12 in several content areas, accessible for all learners. Don't miss the use of audio, video, animations, and interactivity in the mathematics course materials. Math 5 Live! and Spy Guys for grade 6 fully supports content included for those grades. The Continuum is suitable for grades 8-12, depending on skill levels of learners. Secondary learners will also benefit from the Applied Math Multimedia Resources and the interactive Mathematics Discovery Applets. There are 26 resources that will engage a variety of learning styles. You can login as a guest.
Math Mnemonics from OnlineMathLearning.com contains math mnemonics that help students remember math conventions, algorithms, definitions, techniques, and formulas. These are categorized by pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. [Note Education World has additional math mnemonics.]
Math Power is a must see web site that provides information about basic math, algebra, study skills, math anxiety, and learning styles. Although the site addresses the needs of community college adult learners, it has appeal for middle school and secondary math students and teachers. The web site has received numerous awards and has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times, and USA Today.
Metric Conversions by Science Made Simple, Inc. contains online measurement conversions for metric and US customary units, such as area, volume, speed, temperature, time, weight, currency, length/height, power, and stress.
Nick's Mathematical Puzzles are for students grades 9 and upward. Nick Hobson addresses geometry, probability, number theory, algebra, calculus, and logic. Hints are provided, along with answers, fully worked solutions, and links to related mathematical topics. Many of the puzzles are elementary in their statement, yet challenging. There are at least 90 puzzles in this collection. New puzzles are added on a regular basis.
A key feature of the site is the detailed exposition, from first principles, of the puzzle solutions. Some of the puzzles are used to showcase particular mathematical concepts. See, for example, puzzle 33, where a natural solution invokes mathematical induction, and puzzle 56, which introduces a partition identity. Further references are provided with many of the solutions. The site is designed with accessibility in mind.
OnlineMathLearning.com is a real find! It contains math help and learning resources for arithmetic, algebra, geometry, statistics, probability, set theory, trigonometry, matrices, SAT and ACT test preparation, worksheets, games, trivia, and links to related resources. Of particular value are the videos that accompany various topics. Resources are identified for Common Core math standards.
Platonic Realms for secondary and post-secondary students features a "must-see" interactive mathematics encyclopedia, which can be browsed at elementary and advanced levels. Topics include basic mathematics, algebra, analysis, biography, calculus, discrete math, history, economics, geometry, graph theory, number theory, statistics, trigonometry, and math quotes. There is an extensive link library to instructional resources, K-12 and university math departments, institutes, journals, societies, business/commercial math sites, and selected personal pages. View the mathematics art of M.C. Escher. For a small fee, downloads and expert math tutoring online are available.
Teaching Treasures offers online interactive practice in K-10 mathematics topics with helpful explanations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, algebra, measurement, problem solving, shapes, space, reading a clock, and more.
TES Teaching Resources contain an extensive library of free teaching resources in multiple areas created and uploaded by teachers in the TES community. Classroom materials include lesson plans, videos, PowerPoints, games, puzzles, worksheets, tutorials, interactives, and whiteboard resources. Math resources are easiest found by accessing the collection of primary and secondary resources, then narrow your search by a grade level or subject. This site is based in the UK and highly rated--do have a look.
U.S. Department of Education is a comprehensive site for preK-12 and higher education resources, policy information, grants and funding, research and statistics, and more.
A Well-rounded Education
Support of Practical Applications in the Study of Mathematics
On May 4, 2010, the Obama administration released a series of documents outlining the research that supports the proposals in the blueprint for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). One of those proposals calls for a complete and well-rounded education with support for "strong instructional practices in arts, foreign languages, history and civics, financial literacy, environmental education, and other subjects" (p. 19).
The research outlined in A Complete Education (2010) noted:
One strategy for ensuring a well-rounded education is the integration of instruction in English-language arts and mathematics with other subject areas that are not currently covered by [No Child Left Behind] accountability testing, particularly social studies and the arts (Gunzenhauser, 2003; Manzo, 2005; Meyer, 2005; Pinzur, 2004; Rabkin and Redmond, 2005; Vogler, 2003; von Zastrow and Janc, 2004). In this approach, content from science, social studies, foreign languages, or the arts is used during the instruction of mathematics, reading, or writing. (p. 19)
Hence, readers will note that the resources that follow would support this proposal.
Do you need some ideas on getting your students interested in task-based learning, problem-based or inquiry-based learning?
Succeeding with Inquiry in Science and Math Classrooms by Jeff Marshall (2013) includes the need for inquiry in your classroom, details of inquiry instruction (e.g., the framework, exemplars, how inquiry appears in units of study), and advice on how to be successful with this method. Real-world lesson plans are provided to illustrate effective inquiry-based instruction.
emergent math is a blog that has some great ideas for introducing students to inquiry-based learning. Begin your exploration with A Problem Based Learning Starter Kit, posted October 30, 2013. You will also find a set of Common Core Problem Based Curriculum Maps for grades 3-11, algebra 1, geometry, and algebra 2.
Math occurs in so many careers and in daily life. Here's some examples for you:
People who work in agriculture try to maximize produce and would need to know about mixture problems. What's the right amount of seed to use, or fertilizer, pesticides, water?
Accountants/Bankers/all businesses use spreadsheet packages. Who's writing the formulas? This is an algebra skill. Profit/loss translates to knowledge of percents and decimals. There are algebraic equations involving time and interest rates for calculating mortgage payments.
Art of any kind (think people in marketing, too) requires visualization. Many of the pleasing designs use "the golden ratio." See: http://www.goldennumber.net/ and http://mathworld.wolfram.com/GoldenRatio.html
Architects use sophisticated software to build online virtual models of buildings, houses, and so on. They certainly need visualization skills--those spatial aspects students study in math, which they might practice using online virtual manipulatives. Certainly architects need understanding of geometric and algebraic concepts for making physical models of the real thing. Scale drawings rely on accurate use of fractions and decimals.
Athletes can improve their performance by knowing about mathematics (e.g., as it relates to motion, vectors, geometric shapes, nutrition/health, torque, etc.)
Auto industry: How about all the math used in the auto industry? Car designers use math. Cars contain sophisticated computers. Even now, crash tests are done with simulations.
Aviators need math skills. Consider the science of air pressure, drag, lift and velocity, and using formulas to calculate aircraft speed.
Biologists use statistics and probability.
Builders need to measure accurately to cut those boards, pour those floors (think proportions in getting cement to the right consistency--too much water and the structure breaks). That's where knowledge of fractions and decimals comes in. They would need to know about areas, volumes, slopes, angle measures, distance, ratios, and so on. They need skills to calculate how much of a product to buy for the job they are doing, and then its total cost.
Cooks, even in the big restaurants, need measurement skills, and proportions for converting recipes for larger or smaller quantities. But there are software packages to help with that and databases for storing those recipes and spreadsheet packages for inventories, profit/loss, and so on. You need to understand formulas in algebra to design those spreadsheets.
Engineers play a role in the design and modification of products we use. A civil engineer, for example, would be concerned about the amount of weight a road or bridge can handle under a variety of weather conditions. Algebra would help with those calculations in their design.
Fitness trainers can use algebra to help determine a ratio of diet to exercise for achieving a desired weight and maintaining it.
Geologists use math models to study the earth: daily weather patterns, earthquake predictions, and so on.
Medical doctors study the human body and must be able to properly prescribe doses of medicines, and detect illnesses. A heart doctor, for example, would rely on an algebraic equation involving heart rate and oxygen levels in the body to determine cardiac output.
Manufacturing jobs require math skills: "[T]oday's
manufacturing work requires strong math skills — not just adding and
subtracting, but a good grasp of fractions, decimals and basic
trigonometry. And job applicants who want to go into manufacturing
often don't have what it takes" (Boodhoo, 2012, para. 2).
Boodhoo, N. (2012, July 10). For manufacturing jobs, workers brush up on math. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2012/07/10/155837962/for-manufacturing-jobs-workers-brush-up-on-math
Stock brokers: Anyone interested in the stock market? Positive and negative numbers are used to indicate what's happening on the market. Gain of so many points, or loss of so many points. Graphing programs (tech part) can be used to create the visual displays. Of course, knowledge of data analysis is needed.
Surveyors use measurement tools and GPS systems.
Tradesmen of all kinds use math to estimate job costs, and to deal with the technical aspects of their jobs.
People in the military use simulations for training. Programmers need math skills to design those environments. Angles of elevation, range, trajectories are useful to locate and hit targets. You need math to determine how much food, supplies, ammunition, trucks, equipment that troops will need and statistical estimations to determine the rate at which those will be used up. See how math is used in the army.
Virtual Reality--think of virtual environments like Second Life -- who programs those? Everything in Second Life is designed with basic prims, which are geometric shapes that are placed and stretched to get whatever you see in the virtual worlds. Virtual reality technology is being used in medicine, engineering, and architecture to help solve problems, and it's used in the entertainment industry. For more on virtual reality in careers, view the the series of three short videos from the Stem Career Lab, located in Ohio. "Students will hear how virtual reality modeling is being used in a number of disciplines and applications. Students will learn about career paths into the Virtual Reality field and how the math and science they learned in high school will help them later in their professional lives."
The list goes on and on. Animators, computer game designers, special effects designers, professional photographers all use math. Read about these and others in 21 Seriously Cool Careers that Need Maths.
Why not go on a virtual or real field trip or invite a professional to your classroom to talk about how they use math?
Field trips are a great way for students to explore the use of mathematics in careers, everyday life, in other subjects or to engage more deeply in a concept, such as the history of mathematics, number sense; patterns, functions, and algebraic thinking; estimation, measurement, and computations; spatial sense and geometric concepts; and various math activities (cryptology, harvest time math, and puzzles). Create a project in which students investigate this theme. Connect these activities to learning outcomes/standards. Need ideas? Visit the following resources:
Math Learning Field Trip for Homeschoolers posted at Dreambox Learning with field trip and lesson ideas for architecture, sports, museums, factory tours, and agriculture.
The Environment and Math, a lesson for high school learners with field trips to various environmental/conservation sites in your area.
Field Trips Motivate Mathematicians posted at Teachers Network--consider the local bank, grocery store, restaurant, dairy, quilt shop, or train station.
Do you need to explore more careers in math and get ideas on professionals you might invite?
In 101 Careers in Mathematics (3rd Edition) by Andrew Sterrett (2014), you'll actually find more than 101 careers described. Per the book's description, "Each of the jobs presented shows real people in real jobs. Their individual histories demonstrate how the study of mathematics was useful in landing well-paying jobs in predictable places such as IBM, AT&T, and American Airlines, and in surprising places such as FedEx Corporation, L.L. Bean, and Perdue Farms, Inc. You will also learn about job opportunities in the Federal Government as well as exciting careers in the arts, sculpture, music, and television. There are really no limits to what you can do if you are well prepared in mathematics."
American Mathematical Society provides resources to answer the question, "What do mathematicians do?" This is an excellent place to begin discussion on the topic of "Where am I going to ever use this stuff?" The AMS also produces Mathematical Moments among its Math Awareness Series, a series of posters that promote an appreciation and understanding of the role that math plays in science, nature, technology, and human culture. Some feature podcast interviews with experts in the field. There is an entire section for high school students, which also contains a video on Careers in Math.
American Statistical Association Careers in Statistics: Find answers to what statistics is, what statisticians do, industries that employ statisticians, how to become a statistician, and career prospects.
archKIDecture (architecture for kids) "was established in 1996 to encourage visual literacy and explain math, science and visual arts concepts through the medium of architecture" (Why section). You'll find projects, lessons, stories, architecture books for kids, and learn about the BuildIt! Traveling Exhibit for kids.
Career Cornerstone Center has numerous resources for careers in mathematics, computing, science, technology, engineering, and health fields, and assistance for career planning. The student section is particularly helpful as it addresses resources relevant for learners in middle school, high school, college/university, and graduate school. Highly recommended.
Engineering the Future: The Educator's Guide to Building and Construction includes a "collection of lessons, activities, projects, videos, and more, broken down by grade level [K-4, 5-8, 9-12, and When I Grow Up]... to assist educators in teaching young people core areas of study by introducing them to the world of building and construction" (Overview section). Each grade level group relates building and construction to various STEM fields of study and then provides practical math projects/activities suitable for the grade level. The activities have the potential to influence career choices.
Exactly How is Math Used in Technology? This is a set of examples provided by the Mathematics Department at the British Columbia Institute of Technology illustrating how topics in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, statistics and quality control are used in a variety of careers involving technology. You will find an appropriate math problem and its solution related to the math subject and area of technology you select. Areas include biomedical engineering, food technology, building technology, chemical sciences, civil and structural engineering, graphics and computer-aided drawing, electronics, environmental health, mechanical engineering, mining technology, nuclear medicine, occupational health, petroleum technology, prosthetics, forestry and wildlife, robotics, and surveying.
Get the Math is a multimedia project about algebra in the real world, which is for middle and high school learners. Begin by viewing videos that show how professionals working in fashion, videogame design, music production, basketball, the restaurant business, and the special effects industry use algebraic thinking. They present challenges connected to their jobs to two teams of teens. "At that point viewers are encouraged to try the challenges themselves using interactive tools provided on the GET THE MATH website, before returning to the video to see the teams’ solutions. Students can further explore the same algebra concepts through additional interactive challenges on the website" (About section). The project is made possible by the Moody's Foundation THIRTEEN in association with WNET New York Public Media.
Mathematical Association of America posts mathematics careers along with related resources.
Math Apprentice answers the question that nearly every student will ask during his or her math career: When are we ever going to use this stuff in the real world? The site is among several developed by Colleen King, who said "This rich, multimedia site provides students an opportunity to try various professions that use math. Students can be scientists, engineers, computer animators, video game programmers, and more. Math Apprentice provides areas of free exploration as well as specific problems to solve. The site is free of advertising, free of charge, wholesome and safe for children. I would recommend it for upper elementary and middle school students" (personal communication, September 16, 2009).
Math by Design "was created for middle school students taking Algebra I and II to enhance their understanding of geometry and measurement objectives." Students become junior architects who "create two different environments: Flossville Town Park and Windjammer Environmental Center. As they work with each environment, students are given a series of tasks -with related subtasks- that they complete by applying their knowledge of geometry and measurement concepts" (Educator resources section). Math in Action videos enhance their experience as videos feature people who use math everyday in their careers (e.g., cake artistry, sculpture, architecture, urban planning, and landscape design). Videos include discussion questions and related practice resources to extend the video watching experience.
Math Central is for teachers and students. Explore careers in mathematics within the section Mathematics with a Human Face. The section Math Beyond School provides resources for K-12 that address the question: "Where will I ever use this math?" In addition Math Central contains teaching resources, a database of answers to mathematics questions, a problem of the month, and outreach activities. The site, which is available in English, French, and Spanish, is maintained by faculty and students in Mathematics and Statistics and Mathematics Education at the University of Regina in Canada.
Math in the Workplace will definitely help you to answer the question often posed by students, "How am I ever going to use this stuff?" This project contains real-world math problems with solutions contributed by a variety of businesses in Southwest Idaho. Problems are aligned with the National Standards for School Mathematics and Idaho State Mathematics Achievement Standards. They are categorized by strand: Numbers and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis and Probability. The intent of these lessons is to excite students about mathematics, to expose students to professions that employ mathematics, and to demonstrate the relevance of mathematics in solving real-world challenges. The site is supported by Micron Technology. Lessons were field tested by teachers.
Mathematics at Work brochures "examine how higher-level mathematics is used in today's workplaces." Produced by Achieve.org, each reflects expectations on college and career readiness promoted in state standards and the Common Core math standards. You'll find brochures on the aerospace industry, civil engineering, construction, health care, information technology, manufacturing, and semiconductors.
Math@Work is a free series of videos that introduce learners in grades 4 and up to how math is used in various careers. Each video is about 25-minutes long and is accompanied by lessons to promote discussion and problem-solving. Initial episodes included Math Meets Fashion, Math Meets Culinary Arts, and Math Meets Homebuilding.
Mathscareers.org.uk "is a resource to provide a single starting point for those wishing to know where studying mathematics can lead. The website has a particular focus on young people between the age of 11 and 19" (Teacher section). You'll find a range of resources categorized by age level; and resources for undergraduates, graduates and adult learners. Sections showing how math applies in careers include maths, environment, health and society, business and money, entertainment, science and engineering, and sport. Highly recommended.
National Science Foundation Engineering Classroom Resources contain a list of organizations that provide lessons and resources aimed at K-12 educators, their students, and families. They illustrate the role of math and science in engineering, include projects for the K-12 classroom, and promote engineering as a career.
Science of NFL Football includes a series of ten videos relating mathematics to the game. "For each segment in the series, an NSF-supported scientist explains the selected scientific principle, while NFL athletes describe how these principles apply to their respective positions." Videos address vectors; projectile motion and parabolas; nutrition, hydration, and health; position, velocity, and acceleration; geometric shapes; Newton's first, second, and third laws of motion; torque; and the Pythagorean theorem.
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Careers & Jobs section contains resources to learn about careers in the math sciences and applied math. Also learn about "WhyDoMath."
SpaceMath@NASA introduces students to the use of mathematics in scientific discoveries. "SpaceMath products, simple one-page problems featuring a NASA discovery or engineering issue, are designed for direct classroom use by students in grades 3 through 12 using authentic, on-grade-level math topics rooted in real-world science and engineering data. It was developed in 2003 to help NASA missions upgrade their E&PO offerings by explicitly integrating mathematics problems into the science content" (Press Release, 2012). There are multiple ways to locate math problems. Search by grade level (3-5, 6-7, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, Calculus), by NASA mission, by space topic, or by standards themes (NGSS, CCSS-M). Problems follow the 5-Es Constructivist Learning Cycle, which "represent five stages of a sequence for teaching and learning: Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend (or Elaborate), and Evaluate."
STEM Career Lab, located in Ohio, provides a collection of videos on multiple STEM careers in which STEM professionals share "their educational pathway, what it is they love about their jobs, and how they really do use that math and science they learned in high school." Each video comes with a viewing guide that can be used as a pre- and post-assessment, and ideas for discussion and teaching the math and science concepts presented in the videos.
TryEngineering.org: Engineering is a broad field with many disciplines. This resource for students ages 8-18 is provided by IEEE, IBM and the New York Hall of Science. It provides resources for exploring engineering as a career, related games, lesson plans allowing teachers and students to apply engineering principles in the classroom, information about finding a university offering engineering degrees, and a Q&A section from actual engineers and undergraduates pursuing engineering degrees.
WeUseMath.org helps to answer the question "When will I use math?" "This website describes the importance of mathematics and many rewarding career opportunities available to students who study mathematics" (Site description). Over 40 such careers are described, including the mathematics and education required and potential salary.
XP Math offers free arcade-like games for learners in grades 2-9, which are grouped by categories: number & operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, data analysis & probability. XP Math also has a Math in Careers Database that associates math skills with jobs that require those skills.
It's never too early to start teaching kids about finances and money management. Parents are often the first ones to begin this process. Walter Andal (2016) does this, too, in Finance 101 for Kids: Money Lessons Children Cannot Afford to Miss. While meant for middle school learners, anyone can benefit from this informative and entertaining book. In ten chapters, he explains what finance is, how money began, how to earn money, the power of money, credit and how to deal with it, how to save money. He relates money to our economy introducing supply/demand, inflation, unemployment, the stock market, and money around the world. He concludes with his perspective of sharing money with the community (e.g., donations to charities).
Actuarial Foundation's Math Academy is a series of free downloadable booklets with hands-on activities dealing with real life applications of math for students in grades 3-8. Each was designed by teachers who wanted a fun learning environment to engage students. Explorations address probability (Are you game?), patterns and functions (Can you see it in nature?), data analysis and statistics (Play Ball!), fractions, decimals, percents (Dining Out!), combinatorics (Let's Go the the Mall!), and more.
Algebra in the Real World is a series of short movies with activities provided at the Futures Channel. See the relevance of algebra in such areas as Aquarium Makers, Backpack Designer, Blackfooted Ferret, Building Custom Guitars, The Business of Farming, Creating Cars, Dancing with Geometry, and more.
DFI KidsPage (Department of Financial Institutions from the State of Wisconsin) presents an overview of the history of money, savings options, financial institutions, and investing. The end of each section includes a short quiz. There is also a glossary of key financial terms and links to other valuable financial literacy resources for educators, parents, and students (e.g., financial games organized by grade level).
Financial Education in the Math Classroom from the Math Forum at NCTM is a site to share, discuss, and collect resources for teaching financial topics, such as credit and debt, financial planning and money management, income and careers. There's problems of the week, applets and web-based tools, lesson plans and other web-resources that can be used to help illustrate mathematical and financial concepts.
Financial Football developed by Visa is a sports-themed game that helps students to learn about money management: saving and spending, budgeting, and wise use of credit. Players move down the football field to score touchdowns by answering multiple choice questions. For use in the classroom, each module comes with an overview of the concept, goals and objectives, teacher notes, discussion, and the activity questions. There are three levels of difficulty, available in English and Spanish. The game is primarily for ages 11 and up. For those who prefer soccer, there is also a Financial Soccer game on the same topics.
Garden Math hosted by The Ohio State University Extension contains articles on this subject, garden calculators, sample problems and calculations, and additional resources. Bruce Spangenburg's article Math and the Yard & Garden (2001) reminds us that "Planning for planting, fertilizing, mulching, and pest control all involve some math, yet it is often overlooked" (para. 1).
Handbook of Essential Mathematics is from the Air Force Research Laboratory (2006) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. It's a resource developed as part of their K-12 math, science, and technology outreach program. This open source online textbook with three sections is "a compendium of mathematical formulas and other useful technical information that will well serve both students and teachers alike from early grades through early college" (p. 3). It is included in this Math in Everyday Life section because "Section III, “Applications in Personal Finance”, is a small textbook within [this] book where the language of algebra is applied to that everyday financial world affecting all of us throughout our lives from birth to death" (p. 4).
Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics produced A Parent Handbook to Mathematics, K-6 with some good ideas on how to help a child see that mathematics is part of daily life. The ICTM states, "Perhaps you do not realize it, but whenever you sort objects, read maps or schedules, compare prices, make change, or use a calculator or calendar, you are a model of mathematical behavior. When you measure, weigh, work with family finances, or figure out how much wallpaper will cover a wall, you are a living textbook!"
Math in Daily Life from Learner.org contains several interactives showing learners the practical side of math:
Math Interactives is part of LearnAlberta.ca. "This multimedia resource includes interactive math activities, print activities, learning strategies, and videos that illustrate how math is used in everyday life. The resource addresses the following mathematics topics: Fractions; Integers; Percentages; Rate/Ratio/Proportion; Square Roots; Exponents; Patterns; Algebra; Linear Equations; Polynomials; Angles; Circles; Surface Area and Volume; Area and Perimeter; Triangles; Pythagoras; Trigonometry; Similarity and Congruence; Transformations; Shape Classification; Data Display and Graphs; Central Tendency and Distribution; and Probability." (Math Interactives Home page section).
Math Matters, Apply It! SIAM, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, developed this series of pdf documents to increase awareness of applied mathematics. SIAM indicated these were "created for anyone who wants to know more about the mathematics behind everyday life and the technologies we encounter." You will learn about the math behind renewable wind energy, immunology, vaccination, earthquake simulations, x-ray crystallography, sand and dune motion, image compression, statistics in sports, supercomputing, speeding up the internet, cardiology and heart attacks, stopping and preventing fires, digital face recognition, digital animation, using DNA, CDs and anti-skip technology, with more to come. Each is one page and can be used with elementary, middle, and high school learners.
Math Munch aims to help "kids find something mathematical that they love." It's tagline is "A Weekly Digest of the Mathematical Internet." In weekly posts, the developers "share stories about ordinary people who have extraordinary passions for mathematics. [They] share resources that students can use to create math of their own. Perhaps most importantly, [they] share and model an excitement for exploring mathematics and learning new things." And they "use language and examples that are accessible to students at least as young as fifth grade, and probably younger" (Why Math Munch? section). You'll also find math games, math art tools, videos, software, and some thoughts for teachers.
MATRIX. Enter the Matrix via CountOn from the United Kingdom. Students need to appreciate the influence of mathematics on culture. Click on the doors and take your students on a tour of a virtual gallery of exhibitions illustrating mathematics and science related objects. A historical description accompanies each picture. There are interactive applets. Examples of artifacts include an abacus, illustrations of arithmetic and geometry, clocks, compasses, cup weights, mathematical instruments, Victorian scales, and much more. Students can manipulate and modify geometric solids at gallery 5.
Money Math: Lessons for Life from the U.S. Department of the Treasury is a four-lesson curriculum supplement designed for students, grades 7-9, who will learn math concepts using real-life examples from personal finance. The 86-page free downloadable book features a teacher's guide with lesson plans, reproducible activity pages, and teaching tips. Lessons are titled: The Secret to Becoming a Millionaire, Wallpaper, Math & Taxes, and Spreading the Budget. Highly recommended.
NRICH from the University of Cambridge is devoted to enriching mathematics for learners in grades 1-12 with games, problems, investigations, and articles. Resources are free. This project is part of the the Millennium Mathematics Project, a long-term national math education initiative in the UK for ages 5-19 and the general public. See also the Plus site, which is their internet magazine with articles, podcasts, news, a blog, puzzles, careers in math, and more. Plus aims to introduce readers to the beauty and the practical applications of mathematics in science, art and society. The Plus Careers with Math section contains a library of interviews that explore the careers of people who use math in their jobs every day.
PBS Cyberchase: Featured Themes are listed in the Parents and Teachers section under Lessons and Activities, which "connect mathematics to the world children live in, helping them see that math is all around them! Featured themes include related episodes, Web games and print materials." A partial list of themes includes math around town, weather, building, math and Halloween, math and sports, and know your dough (financial literacy).
Practical Money Skills for Life: Visa partnered with leading consumer advocates, educators, and financial institutions to create the Practical Money Skills program so that students of all ages can learn the basics of personal finance. These free educational resources include personal finance articles, games, lesson plans linked to standards, and more. Online multimedia games include such titles as Financial Football, Financial Soccer, Smart Money Quiz Show, Roadtrip to Savings, Ed's Bank, and more.
Statistics in Schools from the U.S. Census Bureau helps to educate K-12 students about the value and use of statistics in everyday life. The program provides resources for teaching and learning with real life data. Common Core standards-aligned, classroom-ready activities in math and history, data visualizations and more are included.
TeachEngineering provides a free digital library with "teacher-tested, standards-based engineering content for K-12 teachers to use in science and math classrooms. Engineering lessons connect real-world experiences with curricular content already taught in K-12 classrooms. ... curricula are hands-on ... and relevant to children's daily lives" (Home Page Welcome). The site is "a collaborative project between faculty, students and teachers associated with five universities and the American Society for Engineering Education, with NSF National Science Digital Library funding" (About section). Highly recommended.
TV411.org from the Education Development Center has a series of videos and web lessons involving math skills used in everyday life and in some careers. They are organized by basic math; ratios, averages, and exponents; fractions, decimals and percents; and geometry. For example, learn about area and tiling the New York subway, carpenter math, estimating pricing a painting job, reading a graph on a utility bill, ratios in the kitchen, finding the best cell phone plan, planning a trip using a map to figure time and distance, selecting the best unit price when shopping, using football, basketball, music and dance as explained by pros to learn about percentages, decimals, and probability, and fractions; using origami to learn some geometry, and more.
Help your students gain math skills for daily life with these simulations and games!
Lavamind.com: http://lavamind.com/edu.html has three simulations (Gazillionaire, Zapitalism & Profitania), each with a higher level in building proficiency with business, math, and economics principles. Free version of Gazillionaire, the first of the series, is available. It is a “cross between Monopoly set in outer space and Wall Street in wonderland” with real-world economic tools to “help you determine where supply meets demand as you race to build your trade empire. Six people can play at a time on the same computer or by email over the Internet. The first company to reach a net worth of a billion kubars wins!”
Lemonade Stand: http://www.coolmath-games.com/lemonade/ Open your own lemonade stand and run a business for 7, 14, or 30 days. Make all your own decisions on pricing, inventory, quality, and purchasing supplies and see how much money you can make. Of course you'll be influenced by the weather.
The Stock Market Game Program: http://www.stockmarketgame.org/ offers a library of learning materials correlated to national voluntary educational standards in math, business education, and economics. This resource has been used at all levels, from fourth grade to college, all across the curriculum. Starting with a virtual cash account of $100,000, students strive to create the best-performing portfolio using a live trading simulation. The program also reinforces critical thinking, decision-making, cooperation and communication skills, independent research. Students use real Internet research and news updates, making the simulation an even better mirror of the real marketplace.
How the Market Works: http://www.howthemarketworks.com/ is a free simulation game designed to help beginners to understand how the stock market and stock trading works by practicing trading. After registering, you receive a brokerage account with a virtual $25,000 in cash and you are able to begin practice trading right away. The stock simulator performs like a real brokerage account. To help you get started, there is an Education Center with numerous articles, videos and tutorials, including a teacher guide among the list of Teacher Tools. This program can be used with middle school learners and above.
Virtual Business Simulations: http://www.knowledgematters.com/ are an engaging way to help high school students "learn key business, marketing, and personal financial concepts including accounting, marketing, management, entrepreneurship, sports marketing and management, financial literacy, hospitality, and more."
Build a Lesson Around Math in Real Life
HOT! TED-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing includes a series of videos on Math in Real Life. Educators can use them or select a YouTube video to then create a lesson. You can add multiple-choice and open-ended questions, discussion prompts, and additional resources. Share the lesson with students and track their progress. Sample lessons are also available.
Connections! Linking Mathematics to Social Studies, Art, and Science from the Middle School Portal contains "online resources that connect mathematics to three subject areas: social studies, art, and science. Each section contains lesson plans, problems to solve, and examples of mathematics at work within contexts not usually associated with school mathematics."
Connections! Math History as a Teaching and Learning Tool is part 2 of the Connections series from the Middle School Portal, which identifies resources that not only support math teaching but also illustrate connections to other subjects in the middle school curriculum. "Teaching how such mathematical ideas as numerals and number systems, scale and measurement, geometry and probability developed over time presents the material on a wider stage and goes a long way to explaining its relevance."
International Society of the Arts, Mathematics, and Architecture (ISAMA) "was founded by Nat Friedman in order to further interdisciplinary education relating the arts, mathematics, and architecture." Included are links to numerous resources on this relationship and access to the ISAMA publication Hyperseeing, which provides the latest on Math and Art with its "mix of articles, news, reviews of books and exhibits, announcements, and even cartoons."
Masterpieces to Mathematics: Using Art to Teach Fraction, Decimal, and Percent Equivalents by Christopher Scaptura, Jennifer Suh, and Greg Mahaffey (2007, August) is a lesson, which appeared in Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School. "This article shares how students created their own OpArt (optical art) which was inspired by Ellsworth Kelly, and how they connected that work of art to rational numbers. By identifying colored portions on a grid, the students recognized fraction, decimal, and percent breakdowns of their own designs" (p. 24).
Mathematics and Art. Mathematics and Art was the 2003 theme for the Mathematics Awareness Month, which is sponsored each year in April by the Joint Policy Board of Mathematics. Joseph Malkevitch (York College, CUNY) gathered resources to explore this relationship. He stated, "There are, in fact, many arts (music, dance, painting, architecture, sculpture, etc.) and there is a surprisingly rich association between mathematics and each of the arts. My goal here is to give some pointers concerning these many connections" (Introduction section). You'll learn about mathematical tools for artists, symmetry, mathematical artists and artist mathematicians; polyhedra, tilings, and dissections; origami (the art of paper folding), and more. For more information on the Mathematics Awareness Month and themes from other years, see http://www.mathaware.org/index.html. The Joint Policy Board of Mathematics is a collaborative effort of the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.
Mathematics Imagery from the American Mathematical Society further explores the relationship between mathematics and art. The collection of albums of math imagery is extensive from snowflakes, fractals, quilts, woven beads to origami, computer-generated landscapes, tessellations, geometric sculptures, and more.
Mathematics and Geography: Popular Geography Activities for Math Class from TeacherVision. "Connect math and geography with these printables, lessons, and activities for kindergarten through twelfth grade. Use these resources to teach students how to read a map and navigate with mathematical instruments. You'll find lesson plans to help students learn how to make a budget for trip expenses and how to interpret U.S. Census data. There are also handouts on weather, elevation, and converting measurements of distance" (para. 1).
Math and Children's Literature from Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site contains a list of books, sample chapters, and articles with strong math themes.
Mathematics and Literature: Math in Children's Literature is brought to you by Nancy Padak, Ohio Literacy Resource Center, Kent State University. Concepts include addition, counting, estimating, fractions, geometry, graphing, measurement, money, multiplication and division, and number sense. This is a highly recommended extensive list to consider for early childhood and elementary grades.
Math and Literature Idea Bank. This resource is primarily for elementary grades brought to you by MathCats. Suggested books and how to use them to connect math to literature are presented.
Mathematics & Music from the American Mathematical Society provides videos, podcasts, and articles to show the connections between mathematics and music. Per the AMS: "Counting, rhythm, scales, intervals, patterns, symbols, harmonies, time signatures, overtones, tone, pitch" are connected to mathematics.
Math, Science, & Music is an initiative of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in collaboration with a number of math, science, music, and education experts from leading universities and the private sector. The goal is to demonstrate to learners in kindergarten through college the connection across these disciplines using its "free engaging curricula, games, apps and other interactive online components" (About section). You'll find modules on Music and Cognition, Scratch Jazz (music and coding with MIT's Scratch coding program), Groove Pizza (shapes, angles, and groove), Making Music Count (composing and blocks), Mathematics of Music (physics, sound, music), Indian Rhythms & Math (rhythm, patterns, music), Academic Music (music and math curriculum), AQWERTYON (patterns and improvisation) and OIID (music, composing, and math).
Motivate Cross-Curricular Maths Resources is part of the family of activities in the Millenium Mathematics Project from the University of Cambridge. Math activities link to art and design, citizenship/PSHE, design and technology, economics, geography, history, media studies, music, science, sport. This is truly a valuable resource.
National Gallery of Art has online interactive classroom lesson units connecting art to curriculum. In Counting on Art, elementary and middle school learners "explore the paintings of Horace Pippin and Wayne Thiebaud and the mobiles of Alexander Calder to discover and practice math and visual art concepts." In New Angles on Art, middle and high school learners focus on two artists and an architect. "The interactive lessons focus on the math—lines, angles, two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional polyhedra, fractions, ratios, and permutations—found in sculptures in the National Gallery Sculpture Garden and in the architecture of the East Building."
National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Science Literacy Maps "are a tool for teachers and students to find resources that relate to specific science and math concepts. The maps illustrate connections between concepts as well as how concepts build upon one another across grade levels. Clicking on a concept within the maps will show resources for the concept..." (Intro section). Within the topics are the nature of science, mathematics, and technology; the mathematical world; historical perspectives, and more. The maps were created with support from the National Science Foundation. Highly recommended.
Radical Math is for educators interested in integrating issues of social and economic justice into their math classes and curriculum. You'll find links to access and over 700 lesson plans, articles, graphs, charts, data sets, maps, books, and websites to bring these issues into the classroom.
Where Math Meets Music by Joseph Heimiller takes a look at such things as frequency and sound waves created by musical instruments. Site might be more appropriate for high school learners and above.
Yummy Math helps teachers bring real-life into math classrooms for learners in grades 3-8 and high school. You'll find activities that correspond to the NCTM Process Standards and the CCSS Standards for Mathematical Practice, easily found by strand within a grade or genre (e.g., math and food, math and science, math and art, math and social studies, math and entertainment, sports).
Do you know how to teach your learners to solve problems?
Powerful Problem Solving: Activities for Sense Making with the Mathematical Practices is by Max Ray and colleagues (2013) at the Math Forum. The authors provide advice and activities that teachers can use to help students become proficient problem solvers in keeping with the Common Core standards for mathematical practices.
Problem Solving Strategies is an excellent site for how to teach your students how to solve problems. Each strategy is discussed and a list of examples applicable to each strategy is provided: draw a diagram, make a list, guess and check, divide and conquer, look for a pattern, start at the end. Then mixed problems are presented for learners to determine the strategy to use. Solutions to problems are included. Available in Turkish and English.
What's an effective set-up of a challenging math problem?
In their 2013 study, reviewed by the folks at the Educational Research Newsletter and Webinars, Kara Jackson and colleagues noted The 4 elements of an effective set-up of a challenging math problem:
Read Jackson et al.'s full study, published in the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education: Exploring Relationships Between Setting Up Complex Tasks and Opportunities to Learn in Concluding Whole-Class Discussions in Middle-Grades Mathematical Instruction. Certainly, results can generalize to all math levels.
What's math modeling all about?
The pure mathematics we teach must be linked to real world applications, so that students do not have to ask: Where are we going to use this? In discussing the nature of mathematical modeling, Ang Keng Cheng (2001) noted:
"Mathematical modelling is a process of representing real world problems in mathematical terms in an attempt to find solutions to the problems. A mathematical model can be considered as a simplification or abstraction of a (complex) real world problem or situation into a mathematical form, thereby converting the real world problem into a mathematical problem. The mathematical problem can then be solved using whatever known techniques to obtain a mathematical solution. This solution is then interpreted and translated into real terms" (para. 7).
The steps in modeling may or may not be sequential:
Henry Pollack (Gould, Murray, Sanfratello, 2012) clarified for educators "how mathematical modeling differs from what you already teach, particularly, “problem solving”. Problem solving may not refer to the outside world at all. Even when it does, problem solving usually begins with the idealized real-world situation in mathematical terms, and ends with a mathematical result. Mathematical modeling, on the other hand, begins in the “unedited” real world, requires problem formulating before problem solving, and once the problem is solved, moves back into the real world where the results are considered in their original context" (p. viii).
Explore 60 Jobs that Use Mathematical Modeling at XP Math.
Learn more about math modeling in Algebra 1 and its role in the curriculum via the Annenberg Foundation's workshop: Mathematical Modeling.
MATHmodels.org has contests and problems on math modeling for high school and undergraduate learners. “Mathmodels is COMAP’s new modeling forum. On this site, students and faculty will find a wide range of interesting contemporary modeling problems. Teachers can assign problems. Students can choose to work on problems based on math topic and application area” (About MATHmodels section). Note: This site has particular relevance, as math modeling is among mathematical practices included in the Common Core State Standards for mathematics. Read about CCSS high school math modeling.
Essential Questions for Modeling and Problem Solving
As you delve into math modeling and problem solving with your learners, consider the following essential questions in mathematics, suggested by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins (2013):
- "When and why should we estimate?
- Is there a pattern?
- How does what we measure influence how we measure? How does how we measure influence what we measure (or don't measure)?
- What do good problem solvers do, especially when they get stuck?
- How accurate (precise) does this solution need to be?
- What are the limits of this math model and of mathematical modeling in general?" (Chapter 1)
What kind of math problems are your students solving?
Are you relying on the math problems that follow each section in your textbook? If so, David Ginsburg (2016) suggested that quality rather than quantity may better serve students when it comes to practice. He's his "four viable purposes for assigning math problems to students" (para. 4):
Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) contains a variety of resources for avid (gifted) students of mathematics in middle and high school. According to Mathew Crawford, an AoPS instructor and former National MATHCOUNTS test champion, "The Forum currently has over 8,500 members from all over the world that have posted over 190,000 messages on a variety of math topics. There are many free resources (in addition to the Forum) such as articles, a LaTeX tutorial, free Web logs, and online Math Jam sessions." [Note: LaTeX is a typesetting system used to produce well-formatted mathematical and scientific writing.] The Art of Problem Solving Foundation also administers the USA Mathematical Talent Search (USAMTS) website. The USAMTS is a free mathematics competition open to any US middle or high school student. AoPS also has a set of problem solving textbooks. For example:
The Art of Problem Solving, Vol. 1: The Basics (2011) is appropriate for students who are just beginning in math contests. It contains over 500 problems and exercises taken from past contests, such as MATHCOUNTS and others. "The emphasis on learning and understanding methods rather than memorizing formulas enables students to solve large classes of problems beyond those presented in the book."
Competition Math for Middle School (2011) contains over 700 examples and problems in algebra, counting, probability, number theory, and geometry. Although written for exceptional students in middle school and teachers looking for challenging advanced math problems, this book could also be used by anyone interested in problems found in national math competitions. Solutions are included.
A+Click allows students in grades 1-12 to solve challenging math and logic problems, practicing over 1000 math skills. "The problems include a short description and an illustration to help problem solvers visualize the model. The problems can be solved within one minute and without a calculator. The tests adapt to student ability. To progress to a higher level, you must correctly answer five consecutive questions. The tests concentrate on understanding, spatial reasoning, and problem solving rather than math rules and theorems" (About section).
Famous Problems in the History of Mathematics is from the Math Forum. "The purpose of this site is to present a small portion of the history of mathematics through an investigation of some of the great problems that have inspired mathematicians throughout the ages. Included are problems that are suitable for middle school and high school math students, with links to solutions, as well as links to mathematicians' biographies and other math history sites."
K-12 Math Problems by Erlina Ronda is written for students. You'll find problems, solutions, explanations, and common errors. Problems are categorized into middle school, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, combinatorics, probability, and calculus.
Mathalicious provides lessons for elementary, middle, and high school linked to the Common Core Standards. Lessons relate to real world scenarios and include the lesson guide, student handout, and multimedia presentation. "[L]essons ask real questions in open-ended ways that require students to make sense of problems and empower students to develop their own strategies for solving them. Students must support and justify their own methods and conclusions, and evaluate the validity of others’ arguments. Lessons prompt students to model their findings in a variety of ways: numerically, graphically, algebraically and verbally" (About section). While not free, Mathalicious does provide a sample of free complete lessons to introduce you to this resource.
Math and Logic Problems Galore is actually a collection of links to sites with puzzles, math problems, games, logic brain teasers, and more and is well worth a look. The collection is grouped: Everyday math and logic problems for everyone; math and logic for kids, then teenagers, then mathematicians and logicians. These are educational in nature and can be used in school settings.
Math Archives, maintained by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, is a comprehensive source on various topics in mathematics, software for teaching K-12, and teaching materials (including lesson plans) ranging from K-12 to college calculus. Materials also include contests and competitions at each level, and problem sets of the week or month. There is an extensive list of professional societies related to mathematics.
Math.com: The World of Math Online is dedicated to solving math problems at nearly every level of school mathematics, including basic math, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, calculus and more. There are online math tools: calculators, graphing utilities, test preparation and study tips, free homework help, a glossary and a math library. Teacher and parent resources are extensive.
MathPickle.com "is a free online resource of original mathematical puzzles, games and unsolved problems for K-12 teachers. It is supported by the American Institute of Mathematics. ... Puzzles are organized by grade and subject -- each designed for a 45-60 minute period" (About Us section).
HOT: Mathway is a free online problem solver for basic math, pre-algebra, algebra, trigonometry, precalculus, calculus, statistics, finite math, linear algebra. There is graphing capability, and also a glossary of key math terms.
MIT BLOSSOMS features a video library with over 100 free math and science lessons primarily for high school students. "Every lesson is a complete resource that includes video segments, a teacher’s guide, downloadable hand-outs and a list of additional online resources relevant to the topic. Each 50-minute lesson builds on math and science fundamentals by relating abstract concepts to the real world. The lessons intersperse video instruction with planned exercises that engage students in problem solving and critical thinking" (About Us section). This site is an initiative of MIT's Learning International Networks Consortium. All lessons are mapped to both the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.
Problems with a Point is designed to complement your existing curriculum with a problem-centered approach to learning mathematics. According to the Education Development Center in Massachusetts, their goal is to "help students in grades 6-12 learn new mathematical ideas by building on old ones. Each problem or sequence focuses on one mathematical idea and also connects that idea with others. Varying in difficulty and approaches, these problems are useful for teachers, students, parents, math clubs, and home-schoolers. Problems are classified by topic, time required, suggested technology, required mathematical background, and habits of mind that students develop or use as they work. Synopses of the problems are keyword searchable. Answers and solutions are provided, and many problems include hints."
Real World Math: "Students will find downloads for over 30 activities, videos, and instructional tutorials for Google Earth & SketchUp. The goal is to take the math you learned in class and develop it further with problem solving activities."
Thinking Blocks teaches children how to visualize and solve math word problems. Using interactive blocks and cubes, children create models that illustrate the underlying math concepts within the problems. Thinking Blocks combines guided instruction, video explanations, and independent practice to help young students in grades 3-5 develop strong problem solving skills.
What's the Problem? --Reality Math for the Ohio Graduation Test is an intervention resource project funded by eTech|Ohio and produced by Ohio University students at the WOUB Center for Public Media. This free series of eight 10-12 minute videos focuses on the uses of mathematics in the real world through parodies of different television reality shows "and highlights the common mathematical mistakes that students make on tests. Each episode targets at least one of the five main benchmarks for Ohio Math Standards. The student engages in activities that present realistic math problems along with a review of the information that will help students solve the problems." CT4ME is featured among the Teacher's Resources for these episodes. Also see the complete teacher guide. Note: As math standards are identified, learners in all states can benefit.
Add some enrichment to remind learners of math in daily life.
Students might not be aware of how much math plays in their daily lives, nor in the entertainment they experience.
Become an avid reader of Plus magazine-- a real find of value!
Plus is an internet magazine which is free for educational and non-commercial purposes. It aims to introduce readers to the beauty and the practical applications of mathematics. You'll find "articles, which describe applications of maths to real-world problems, games, and puzzles; reviews of popular maths books and events; a news section, showing how recent news stories were often based on some underlying piece of maths that never made it to the newspapers; a puzzle for you to sharpen your wits against; a lucky dip of mathematical curiosities; and opinions on various maths-related topics and news stories. [Plus also has] a regular interview with someone in a maths-related career, showing the wide range of uses maths gets put to in the real world." (About Plus section)
Increase motivation in problem solving--add some humor!
Young learners in grades 3-6 will appreciate Comic-Strip Math: Problem Solving by Dan Greenberg (2010). They'll laugh as they read each of the 80 comic strips and complete companion mini-story problems. They'll reinforce skills in place value and rounding, number operations, fractions, decimals, time, money, measurement, geometry, graphs, patterns, rate, ratio, probability and statistics.
Add a little dose of Math in the Movies and on TV.
Add some enrichment with Math in the Movies, a collection of clips in which mathematics appears gathered by Oliver Knill of the Mathematics Department of Harvard University. The collection is extensive ranging from Alice in Wonderland to the Simpsons, Shrek the Third, A Walk to Remember, and so much more. Teachers should preview selections for age appropriateness. For example, Die Hard III is also in the collection and the language might not be suitable for some.
Viewers of the TV series Simpsons might not be aware of all the math one can find in several of the episodes. There are "over a hundred instances of mathematics ranging from arithmetic to geometry to calculus, many designed to expose and poke fun at innumeracy." The popularity of the Simpsons makes the web site simpsonsmath.com an "ideal source of fun ways to introduce important concepts to students, and to reduce math anxiety and motivate students in courses for non-majors." Drs. Sarah Greenwald and Andrew Nestler also provide resources for using the site with students.
Show your learners the photographs and art involving the beauty of math! Explore the mystery of mathematics.
Geometry in Art (2010) by Hilton Andrade de Mello of Brazil is an excellent supplementary book for students to explore "how geometric forms have been and continue to be used in the Arts and in Architecture, and also how they appear in Nature." You'll read analyses of the role of geometry in actual works of art. In writing this book, which is a free download, the author received contributions from artists around the world. Ten chapters address Abstraction and Geometry, Planar geometric forms, Polyhedrons, Other spatial figures such as the conics, Composing a canvas with polygons: Tessellations, Perspective, The Golden Ratio, Symmetry and specular image, Geometry and symbolisms, and an Introduction to Informatics and the arts.
Geometry Playground, created by the Exploratorium in San Francisco, will change how you view geometry in nature. It contains three sections: The Geometry of Seeing with a photo exhibition of the invisible geometry of light; The Geometry of Moving on the arcs, angles, and shapes created when people and things are in motion; and the Geometry of Fitting Things Together. Each includes hands-on activities for grades K-8. The Geometry Garden features curiosities found in nature from crystals to seashells to sculptures. The site was made possible by the National Science Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
The Mathematical Association of America hosts the Found Math Gallery, which features interesting photos involving math: the ordinary sidewalk, symmetry in nature, architectural wonders--just look around you. This will give great inspiration for your students to take their own photos of math in daily life--what a great project idea!
The Natural Museum of American History features 80 of the Mathematical Paintings of Crockett Johnson. "From 1965 until his death in 1975 Crockett Johnson painted over 100 works relating to mathematics and mathematical physics." Many relate to the geometric figures and concepts that students encounter in their high school math courses, and give great inspiration for projects linking math to art.
View The Great Math Mystery (2015, about 50 minutes) from PBS.org. Per the program description:
"Join NOVA on a mathematical mystery tour—a provocative exploration of math's astonishing power across the centuries. We discover math's signature in the swirl of a nautilus shell, the whirlpool of a galaxy, and the spiral in the center of a sunflower. Math was essential to everything from the first wireless radio transmissions to the prediction and discovery of the Higgs boson and the successful landing of rovers on Mars. Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio, along with a colorful cast of mathematicians, physicists, and engineers, follow math from Pythagoras to Einstein and beyond. It all leads to the ultimate riddle: Is math a human invention or the discovery of the language of the universe?"
Learn more about discrete mathematics and its role in solving real-world problems.
Navigating Through Discrete Mathematics Grades 6-12 from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics provides an overview of discrete math and then guidelines for integrating related topics into the curriculum based on NCTM standards. Six chapters, organized for grades 6-8, and 9-12) address systematic listing and counting, vertex-edge graphs, and iteration and recursion. Blackline masters and problem solutions are included. NCTM provides the introduction to the book to define these topics, their importance and where they are used in real-world problem solving.
Wikipedia: Discrete Mathematics illustrates where discrete mathematics is found in a variety of topics, such as computer science, logic, set theory, combinatorics, graph theory, probability, number theory, calculus, geometry, topology, game theory, and more.
Cheng, A. K. (2001). Teaching mathematical modeling in Singapore schools. The Mathematics Educator, 6(1). Retrieved from http://math.nie.edu.sg/kcang/TME_paper/teachmod.html
Ellis, M. (2015). Mastering the most challenging math standards with rigorous instruction [Whitepaper]. North Billerica, MA: Curriculum Associates. Retrieved from http://www.casamples.com/downloads/Mastering-Most-Challenging-Math-Standards.pdf
Ginsburg, D. (2016, March 28). Four purposes of math problems [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/coach_gs_teaching_tips/2016/03/four_purposes_of_math_problems.html
Gould, H., Murray, D., & Sanfratello, A. (2012). Mathematical modeling handbook (sample). Bedford, MA: The Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications. Retrieved from http://www.comap.com/modelingHB/Modeling_HB_Sample.pdf
McTighe, J., & Wiggins, G. (2013). Essential questions: Opening doors to student understanding. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.