Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Incorporating History in the Math Classroom

In my opinion, number sense is something that I feel all children need to be successful in my math class. The ability to check their answer for reasonableness is something that seems so natural for me, and less and less each year for my students. I have made it my mission this summer to find something to use throughout the year next year to battle this so that my kids leave my class READY for Algebra in high school. (I will be teaching the 8th grade math class for those students who aren't on the advanced math track).

Incorporating other courses into the math classroom has always been a struggle of mine, but something I always strive to do. I am currently in a Pre-Algebra training at Rice University and one of our activities was to solve a "This Day in History Problem" that looked like this:

**Sorry for the terrible image!**

Anyhow, there are several things that I love about a problem like this:

  1. It reinforces place value...something that gets so lost along the way.
  2. It reinforces reasonableness...obviously you can have a discussion about what kind of book that was and infer that it was written prior to 2000, thus making it absolute that the thousands place must be 1!
  3. It reinforces math vocabulary that the kids should be using but they don't--and although this seems brash--it's probably because their teachers stopped using it somewhere along the way.
  4. It teaches kids things about a time period before they were born (for most of the problems) and a lot of it is fun trivia!
You can see that I am in love with these types of problems. I know you are on the edge of your seat wondering where you can buy this awesome book...but wait, there's more! Not only is this a book of 365 days of warm-ups (I know some of you teach summer school!), but there are 2 problems for each day! So, this makes the title of the book pretty fitting:

Front Cover

To be clear...I am in no way shape or form affiliated with the authors or anything having to do with this book...I just couldn't wait to order it this afternoon and wanted to share it with the rest of you! 

What great discovery have you made this summer that you can't wait to implement in the fall?

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