Sunday, August 5, 2012

Start your school year off right

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09:  Pupils wait f...
(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Just when you pulled the lawn chairs out of storage, it's time to think about heading back to school.  Before you put down your lemonade, take a moment to consider which Real World Math lessons you will be using during the next school year.  Personally, I use at least one Google Earth activity each quarter with a particular class, but it may depend on your students' abilities. If they haven't used Google Earth before, then it may take some time to get them orientated. The following Real World Math lessons would be good introductory activities to teach beginners some basic Google Earth skills:
  • Line Patterns - using the Path tool
  • Mazes and Labyrinths - navigating & working with folders
  • Estimating Distance - using the Ruler tool
  • Water Problems - using the Elevation Profile tool

You may want to use a Real World Math activity at the logical spot in your curriculum but I would often slide something in out of sequence.  Instead of running the gauntlet through several chapters on fractions, why not introduce an exploratory activity or take time to incorporate some project-based lessons.  Of course, prerequisite skills are an important factor to consider, but I think students would appreciate a change of pace.  Studying mathematics doesn't always have to be done in a linear fashion.

Also keep in mind that many of the Real World Math lessons lend themselves to cross-curricular activities. Coordinate extension activities early on with the Science, History, and English teachers on your team.  Oil Spill Estimates and Whale Watch are just two of the activities that can be explored in different disciplines. 

I would love to hear of your experiences with the material throughout the year. Please give feedback - the good and the bad - by emailing or use the site's contact form.  

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