- Students will use a variety of basic and advanced math skills to solve real-world problems
- Students will understand the relationship between academic knowledge or skills and future careers
- Real Math (PDF)
Background Discussion (10 minutes)
- Explain that mathematics doesn't have to be difficult or intimidating, and that accounting and banking are not the only careers that require math knowledge. Many other professionals use math every day without even realizing it. For most people, however, math is easier to understand if it can be applied to everyday life. For example, figuring out how much lumber to buy for a home improvement project may feel easier than completing geometry homework, and calculating what percentage of your paycheck is needed to pay a cell phone bill might seem simpler than finishing a word problem. However, the math involved is the same.
- Ask: Do you believe that there is a difference between "classroom" math and "real world" math? Discuss your students' responses using examples of math in the real world such as the ones below. Help students see the links between the algebra, geometry, and arithmetic skills they learn at school and the math they use in their everyday lives.
a. Construction worker: geometry, algebra, arithmetic, billing, and purchasing
b. Hair stylist: calculate percentages to mix chemicals, understand angles and geometry when cutting/shaping different hairstyles
c. Retail business owner: calculate prices based on wholesale costs, budgets, planning for holiday purchasing
d. Magazine publisher: understand who is reading your magazine, the characteristics of your readers, understanding the market and whether or not there is growth in that market
e. Real estate agent: calculate mortgage rates, price trends, taxes
Writing Action (20 minutes)
- Separate students into pairs and distribute Real Math (PDF) Student Reproducible to each pair.
- Read the introduction aloud and instruct each group to complete the worksheet.
- Review the answers as a class using the answer key below.
Active Wrap-up (10 minutes)
Play this quick response game to help students synthesize their understandings of math's role in a wide variety of careers. Choose a timekeeper for this activity. Then read the first career on the list below to a student. Ask the student to tell everyone one way in which the job uses math. Read the next career to the next student and repeat the exercise. When you get to the end of the list go back to the beginning or add careers of your own.
Students should be given only five seconds to come up with a way that the job uses math. If they do not respond within the time frame, go back to the beginning and start again. Remind students that no answers should be repeated and challenge them to think as creatively as possible!
- Computer designer
- Video game developer
- Hair stylist
- Radio broadcaster
- Marine biologist
- NASA employee
- Ship builder
- Military officer
- Bakery owner
- Fashion designer
- Hotel manager
- Fireworks designer
- Child care worker
Answer Key (For Real Math Student Reproducible 2):
- A) 410+175+165+175=925; B) Antron Brown by 25 points, C) To determine how long it took Antron to travel one mile, divide the number of miles traveled by the number of seconds in an hour (3600) (185/3600=19.46). This figure represents how long it took Antron to travel one mile. Because Antron traveled one mile in 19.46 seconds, divide 19.46 by 4 to determine how long it took Antron to travel a quarter-mile (19.46/4=4.865 or 5 seconds).
- Double the distance between the two circles and add half the circumference of each circle. (Please note that half the circumference of each circle equals the circumference of one circle.) (12 x 2) + (4*3.14)=36.56 inches.
- A) ((32 ounces + 8 ounces)*10)/32=10.5 quarts; B) $3.75*10.5 quarts=$38.44; C) $38.44*36=$1383.84; d. $1383.84/10000=13.8% or 14%
- A) (30+30)+x=180, x=120 degrees; B) (30+90)+x=180, x=60 degrees.