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Teacher helps students connect mathematics to the real world

May 31, 2008

Students in Mr. Montgomery's and Mrs. Hines' 7th grade mathematics classes at Robinson Junior High School enjoyed attending a carnival during school hours. This was not an ordinary carnival; however, this was one that had been carefully fashioned to give students experiences with how mathematics can connect to the world around them.

In ten separate booths, students played different carnival games, from putt-putt golf to races, all with the purpose of seeing how adults in different professions use math everyday. Each student carried their own personal business card to each station and received a stamp to indicate that they had completed each game. The completed business cards were then traded at the end of the carnival for a prize.

Each booth contained mathematical concepts critical to 7th grade math students. The booths were intended to allow the students access to mathematics in a format that would make its use more understandable. The ten booths for this year's carnival and the mathematics that they used included: Crime Scene Investigator (area/perimeter), Pizza Delivery Person (check writing), Pilot/Navigator (angles), Carpenter (measurement), Sports Statistician (percentages), Paleontologist (proportionality), Professional Golfer (integers), Architect (measurement), Parks and Wildlife Ranger (proportionality), and Bowling Alley Manager (mean, median, mode, and range).

Mark Montgomery is a Baylor graduate student in Curriculum and Instruction and has traveled to numerous conferences presenting his ideas about using a math career carnival to give students a way to connect the classroom to their lives outside of school as well as to allow them to see the importance of studying mathematics for any career path that they should choose.

2008 RJH Math Career Carnival Slideshow