Real World Math Problems

Are your students lacking enthusiasm about math?  One way to increase engagement and get your students excited about math is by incorporating real world math.  Read below to learn about real world math, why it’s important, and how you can implement it in your classroom!



WHAT IS REAL WORLD MATH?
Real world math is simply what the name sounds like.  It is bringing real world situations and experiences related to math into your classroom.  It can be as big as students engaging in powerful learning experiences where they learn about the world around them or it can be as small as making connections to the real world when learning about concepts and skills.


WHY IS REAL WORLD MATH IMPORTANT?
Real word math is important because it...
  • Brings meaning to math.
  • Builds students’ understanding of the real world application of math.
  • Supports students in making connections between math and the real world.
  • Offers authentic experiences.
  • Increases student engagement.
  • Invites students to understand why they are learning what they are learning.
  • Boosts higher order thinking skills.
  • Strengthens critical thinking skills.
  • Provides teachers with an assessment tool to determine if students have a conceptual understanding (link blog about conceptual understanding here).



TIPS ON HOW I CAN IMPLEMENT REAL WORLD MATH
  1. Display documentaries related to a concept or mathematician.
  2. Use primary source documents to teach about the history of math.
  3. Create learning experiences based on current events and trends.
  4. Provide opportunities for students to participate in dramatic play and simulations.
  5. Invite guest speakers that use math in their career.
  6. Facilitate opportunities for students to present their work to peers, teachers, administrators, parents, and the local community.
  7. Begin using project-based learning.


WHAT IS PROJECT-BASED LEARNING?
Project-based learning is a great way to implement real world math in your classroom.  It is a teaching method where a teacher poses a real world problem and complex question to students.  It is imperative that the problem and question is authentic and engaging.  In addition to this project equipping students with a deep understanding of the math content, it also gives them opportunities to strengthen their problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.  These skills are essential for students to develop and refine for their future.  Students work on the project over an extended period of time (week, month, or semester).  Some important components of the process are student choice, inquiry, innovation, and meaningful feedback.  When students come to the conclusion of their project, they present it to a real audience (peers, teachers, administrators, parents, and the local community).



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