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!