Number Sense

Really old “New Math”

Tom Lehrer is a singer, songwriter, satirist, pianist and mathematician who has written some wonderful songs. In 1959 he wrote a song called “New math”.  At that time, much of mathematics teaching was reoriented.  Parents of elementary school aged children…

How much caffeine?

We stumbled upon this interesting caffeine infographic at visual.ly. Wonderings? How many McDonalds coffees do I need to get the same amount of caffeine that I would get in a Starbucks coffee? What is the whole circle worth?  How do you…

California wildfire

Wildfires are burning in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Yosemite National Park.  In this activity we ask students to examine various maps of this California region, calculate distances using map scales, draw conclusions about the nature of fighting fire here,…

U. S. Open Tennis Tournament

The U.S. Open is about to get underway in New York City.  It is possibly the biggest tennis tournament in the world. We’ve updated our numbers and focused on the prize money.  As students ponder the amounts for various wins,…

Bits, bytes, and nibbles

Clicking on the image will show it larger. I’m not very good at understanding how large my device capacities are and how big the files that I want to download are in comparison.  I decided to practice with the numbers…

Raising the bar

Recovery of the treasure from the 1941 sinking of the S.S. Gairsoppa was recently completed and a huge amount of silver was brought up from the ocean floor.  Let your students get a feel for this adventurous career as they calculate…

Shooting stars coming soon

Conditions will be favorable for excellent views of the Perseids meteor showers in early mid-August.  Let students read charts, analyze data, work with percent of moon visibility at each phase, and understand apparent magnitude in the night sky with this…

Methane math

Carbon dioxide and methane are our two most prevalent human-contributed greenhouse gases.  This holstein cow is one of many huge contributors to our methane production.  Let students calculate percentages of greenhouse gas production from cars, cows, and people.  We’ve got…

Spread of lyme disease

With the start of summer and wonderful outdoor activities, it might be good to examine the growth of Lyme disease occurrences in the United States.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  has a wonderful map that you can…

Souvenirs and concessions

Brian has introduced systems of equations with easy, motivating problems that deal with the cost of stadium purchases for food or souvenirs. These systems of equations puzzles are so intuitive that very little support will be needed

Father’s Day blueberry surprise

Sunday is Father’s Day and there is still time to have a tiny fraction review in the guise of celebrating Father’s Day. This is a short activity that asks students to change the amounts in a blueberry muffin recipe to…

Jock tax

Professional athletes make a lot of money.  Aaron Rodgers recently signed a five year, 110 million dollar contract with Green Bay Packers!  Did you know that professional athletes have to pay an amazing amount of federal, state, and sometimes even…

Ladder figuring

Brian can’t even go to his town’s spring festival without seeing math. Let your class approximate the height or length of this ladder by using the relative size of the cars or the people to approximate the ladder’s length.