As a teacher of gifted students, I know that abstract drill and kill only works for so long. I’ve got to get my students working with math in a more interesting context. Nothing brings a math problem alive like putting it into a real world context. Here are 33 fantastic places to grab data for your students to practice with.
Topic: Math Projects
Entice your gifted mathematicians with real world data and an authentic problem such as: “Let’s say that instead of buying the original iPod, you spent the same amount of money on Apple stock. How much would that stock be worth now?”
Starting with an IKEA catalog, a hotel furnishing math project was born. Use this project as a tool to differentiate your math instruction and impart some practical knowledge on your students.
If you’re attempted to differentiate your math program through preassessment, I’m sure you’ve stumbled across students who have already demonstrated mastery of an upcoming unit. Typically, we try to come up with something deep and meaningful for these students to work on while we instruct the class. This, however, is a tricky problem with no simple solution.
Let’s develop a math project to challenge students who have demonstrated a mastery of multiplication and are ready to explore its applications. We’ll count the parking spaces in the Disneyland parking structure!
As a teenager, I loved monitoring the weekend’s box office results. This kind of data is exciting, oozing with built in conflict. It sets up questions that require math to answer.
Sometimes I find authentic data, but it doesn’t necessarily have an obvious conflict. The measurements of the Great Pyramid are cool, but where’s the conflict? What draws students in if they’re not inherently interested in pyramids?
What if you want to buy a big gift that’s cheap for its size? By calculating the volume of the object, we can find how much each cubic inch costs. Measured by price per volume, Thomas is 250 times more expensive than a big outdoor slide!