Monday, September 29, 2008

Sail the Seven Seas

Lorraine from Classroom 2.0 has suggested an interesting web activity for students.

On the ninth of November, 30 skippers from seven different countries will embark on an epic singlehanded voyage around the world. Skipper Rich Wilson will be the only US sailor in this race. One of his primary purposes of his voyage will be to connect with students and teachers around the world to share this learning experience with them via his website where he will post blog entries, photos and videos I have followed Rich on 3 of his previous voyages with my students. The energy and excitement of coming 'on board' for the race has been an incredible learning experience for my students and me. Vincent Mespoulet has set up a Ning so that teachers can join and follow this voyage from across the planet. I invite you to join the Ning and share in the excitement of the Vendee Globe with our teacher at sea, and students and teachers across the globe.

This event would work nicely with Google Earth. Consider having students plot the skipper's course as he sails around the world!

Skipper Rich Wilson

Saturday, September 13, 2008

RWM Tops 10,000

As a person new to web publishing, I am excited and encouraged that the Real World Math website had 10,000+ hits over the summer. While this number may not seem large in relation to other sites, I am pleased that so many people have viewed it in its first four months. I hope a large portion of those visitors are now actually implementing the lessons in their classrooms. As always, any feedback on the website or lesson materials is greatly appreciated.

I am introducing RWM lessons to a new batch of students this year. So far, the students have reacted positively to any effort that takes them outside of their math textbooks. Unfortunately the first lessons normally turn out to be an exercise on synchronizing e-mail accounts. To anyone starting out there, I recommend having your students create a Gmail account specifically for the purpose of receiving and submitting school assignments. As mentioned in the previous post, I have taken the approach of teaching Google Earth skills as part of the first activities. The students have learned how to send Google Earth kmz files via e-mail, create and annotate folders, and draw paths. I am confident this preparation will help to eliminate problems in future lessons.

Good luck with the lessons and keep the hits coming!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Back to School!

Many of us are heading back to school now or soon will be. Hopefully you have been able to become better acquainted with the variety of lessons and activities available in the Real World Math website.

In the first week of school I have my students fill out a technology inventory. I will ask them if they have a computer they can use at home or if they have one they can bring to school. I ask them to rate their experience level with Internet tools such as blogs, wikis, Google Earth, social networks, and e-mail. I'll also ask for their e-mail addresses and give them an e-mail address I'll use for homework. They may want to do likewise and create a new gmail account for submitting their homework. It would be a good idea to test these addresses with a trial correspondence before the first assignment. Not all of the Real World Math lessons require e-mail communication with students - completed work can be submitted on a flash drive, for instance, but e-mail can come in handy for those students who find themselves in a jam.

Now would be a good time to plan out which Real World Math lessons you will be using and when. Personally, I use at least one Google Earth activity each quarter but it depends on the students' abilities. If your students haven't used Google Earth before then it will take some time to get them orientated. The following Real World Math lessons would be good introductory activities to teach beginners Google Earth skills:
  • Line Patterns - using the Path tool
  • Mazes and Labyrinths - navigating in Google Earth
  • Estimating Distance - using the Ruler tool
  • Sierpinski Triangle - managing folders, adding placemarks and drawing paths.
Also keep in mind some of the lessons lend themselves to cross-curricular activities. Coordinate extension activities with the Science, History, and English teachers on your team.

I would love to hear of your experience with the material throughout the year. Please give feedback - the good and the bad - by emailing

Have a great year!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Updates & Corrections

The Updates page of Real World Math should have some lessons added to it this summer. I have some ideas to work on but I hope to get some of your creations as well. I teach math to middle school students and so most of the material on the website is appropriate for those grades, but I'm sure there's room to grow up and down. Any ideas?

I have used some of the RWM lessons with my students, but not all. I've reloaded some material to correct errors. Please feel free to point out any mistakes you come across - only, can I ask that you do that through the email address ( and not in the comments section of this blog. I'm also learning how to edit Google Earth annotations in html and so I'll be reformatting some of the lessons with that also. Check back to this blog and the Update page of Real World Math for new lessons and posts. Who says teachers have the summers off?

Update: All Google Earth Kmz files for Real World Math have been edited, re-formatted, and re-loaded. Please report any errors. 7/10/08

Monday, May 12, 2008

Genesis 2

One month ago I posted this blog entry on

"Today I am officially throwing my hat in with the growing community of educators that use Instructional Technology. I hope this site will help bring a fresh approach to the way math is taught. Not to be forgotten is the technological skills students will learn and inevitably carry with them in the future. Please support these efforts by recommending the site to at least one other person. Math lessons needn’t be constrained by the pages of a text. I hope this site will show students that math is truly a subject of the real world."

The response to the website has been more than I had hoped for. To date, the site has been visited over 4,600 times and it has received favorable reviews in a number of blogs, webpages, and emails. As you may know, the one problem with the site has been the Community blog page. I built RealWorldMath with iWeb, and the template's blog page has not accepted outside comments. This has troubled me, as collaboration was intended to be an important feature of the site. And so...

The Community blog for will be accomplished here using Blogger.

As always, please offer your comments, critiques, and suggestions in this Blog. If you would like to submit a Google Earth lesson please email it to for consideration.