Solving Math Problems in the Real World
By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, December 3, 2007
- Middle School
- Design for the Other 90%
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- explore design innovations
- learn about the applications of math in the real world
- discuss the benefits of new and productive innovations
- create a mathematical word problem with real-world applications
- Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum: Design for the Other 90% http://www.designother90.org/solutions/?exhibition=12
- "Solve my Problem!" handout (attached)
- "Although he may not always recognize his bondage, modern man lives under a tyranny of numbers." Nicholas Eberstadt, The Tyranny of Numbers: Mismeasurement and Misrule http://www.quotegarden.com/math.html
- "Pure mathematics is the world's best game. It is more absorbing than chess, more of a gamble than poker, and lasts longer than Monopoly. It's free. It can be played anywhere - Archimedes did it in a bathtub." Richard J. Trudeau, Dots and Lines http://www.quotegarden.com/math.html
- "From the time of Kepler to that of Newton, and from Newton to Hartley, not only all things in external nature, but the subtlest mysteries of life and organization, and even of the intellect and moral being, were conjured within the magic circle of mathematical formulae." Samuel Taylor Coleridge http://www.mathacademy.com/pr/quotes/index.asp?ACTION=TOP&VAL=history
- amusement park
- sports arena
- movie theater
- How does applying mathematical ideas to the real world make math more meaningful?
- Does seeing how math is used in the real world help you to better understand math concepts? Does it make it more interesting for you?
- What did you learn from your classmates’ presentations?
- What were the most effective ways to design word problems?
- What kinds of design innovations were represented in the presentations?
- What did you learn about math in this activity?
- Rate how well you understood the application of mathematical concepts to the real world.
- Rate how well you understood the concept behind the innovations on the Design for the Other 90% website.
- Rate the quality of the word problem made by your group.
- Rate the value of the real-world application of your group’s word problem.
- Rate your participation in the design of your group’s presentation.
- Rate how well your group was able to collaborate.
Enrichment Extension Activities
Differentiation for Elementary School:
- Students can participate by writing simpler word problems related to the exhibition Design for the Other 90%, along with the solution and real world application. For example:
Problem: How much longer can fruit stay fresh using the Pot-in-Pot Cooler design? Solution: 18 days. Application: How can this help the farmers of Nigeria who have to travel for 2 days to get to market?
Differentiation for High School:
- Have the students create a poster, blog post or PowerPoint presentation that includes and explains the information they gathered for the creation of the word problem.
- Ask the students to exchange word problems with another group and write an additional word problem to go along with the information included.
- Ask the students to provide an additional real-world application of the word problem and solution written by another group.