It is common to hear students exclaim; "Math isn't important! All it is is a bunch of numbers. When will I ever use this except to pass the test? I am not going to be an accountant or banker." But as educators know, math is everywhere in the real world and the skills of mathematical literacy are as important as language literacy skills for students to learn. In fact, math skills are so integral to many of the routine and tasks of life that many never realize that they are doing calculations or performing feats of numerical fluency until the process is deconstructed and the mathematics pointed out.
When presented as endless series of worksheets written almost entirely in numerals, math can easily become disconnected from the daily lives of students and therefore seem meaningless to them. Like any language, understanding and using math with fluency requires students to decode combinations of abstract concepts (numbers and symbols) into a meaningful sentence (formula) and then provide an appropriate response (the answer). And just like other languages students learn math more easily when it is connected to and practiced in their daily lives. Kids learn faster and retain information better when the lessons have meaning and practical application in their daily lives.
Since daily life is full of situations that require humans to have mathematical literacy, why not use these activities to teach students numerical literacy. Pairing the theoretical with practical application not only makes math easier to comprehend, but more enjoyable and in some instances even extremely tasty.
Math at Home
These content-rich mathematical texts include engaging ideas to assist with instruction in essential math skills. Online books offer a great opportunity to enrich student’s vocabulary and content knowledge. Big Universe offers hundreds of titles in many different languages on thousands of topics. Find these informational and engaging texts at www.biguniverse.com.
Culinary Math Helen Thompson (author)
Cooking is a kind of science you have to get the measurements right to make everything work. It takes math. In Culinary Math, youll discover how numbers, ratios, and other math help make tasty foods you can cook yourself.
Math at Work
Math at Play
http://everydaymath.uchicago.edu/teachers/teacher-admin-links/ Math resources and links for Teachers
http://www.crlt.umich.edu/gsis/p3_3 Teaching for Retention in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics: A Guide for GSIs (STEM)
http://www.learner.org/interactives/dailymath/ "Math in Daily Life" lesson plans and more from Annenburg Learner
http://www.utexas.edu/cofa/dbi/content/math-real-life Drama Based Instruction
http://users.wfu.edu/mccoy/mprojects.pdf Authentic Activities for Connecting Mathematics to the Real World
http://www.mathalicious.com/ Math activities linked to Common Core - middle and high school teachers