No Series: Make it Real: Connecting Math to Life

Make it Real: Connecting Math to Life

Lesson Objective: Engage in mathematics through real-world scenarios
All Grades / Math / Engagement


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. What can you learn from Ms. Brookins and Mr. James about linking math to stories?
  2. How do real-world scenarios increase engagement and retention of concepts?
  3. Why is it important to give students a chance to apply their learning?


  • Private message to Xin Huang

"Brain rememers stories in a way. If we have a scenario, and there is a story,  and in the story there is a problem, then it changes brain in a way, so brain will remember forever." wow....key word:  senario, story, problem, brain, remember forever. I think I can make a lot of changes to my math class if I can follow this principle.

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  • Private message to Karen McElhenny
Students become more excited and engaged when they can connect assignments to life and see their work in operation. What a great way to incorporate STEM applications.
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  • Private message to Carlo Poggi
An incredible number of concepts can be linked to this task, from math to physics, robotics, optic of the camera, GPS systems, forces. Great idea.
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  • Private message to Anne Marie George
yes, that's the challenge isn't it...devising enough feasible projects, in a variety of teaching settings (eg. which may be dependent on time and budget constraints) to cover the core curriculum topics. I wonder if there is such an endeavour being undertaken by Maths teachers (globally ideally!) to create just that set of projects? Would be WONDERFUL!
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  • Private message to Jonathan Muster
I think its a great way to use math in an engaging and challenging way. I think the explanation in the video of the power of math application by utilizing the human body's necessity to make connections in order for long term memory to be formed is great. Students always remember the stories and real applications (especially if its hands on). Great video, thanks for sharing.
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  • Make it Real: Connecting Math to Life Transcript
    Peggy Burkins: This lesson is a pre-cal lesson dealing with trig functions.

    Make it Real: Connecting Math to Life Transcript
    Peggy Burkins: This lesson is a pre-cal lesson dealing with trig functions.
    Raymond James: And we'll be using quad-copters to represent that lesson.
    Raymond James: Football coaches come to us and they want to film the games from high above the football field. How high up should we be in order to visually get a good picture of what's going on during the game.
    Peggy Burkins: We started with a story and we learned a lot of this because we're thinking Math Train. The brain remembers stories in a way that they don't remember other things. So, if we have a scenario and there's story, and in that story, there's a problem, then it changes the brain in a way so the brain is going to remember forever. So that's what we created. So that kids can actually have this experience they'll never forget. And in the experience, we don't want to have them forget the mathematics of the experience as well. Knowing, this is how I'm going to use this. This is why I'm learning this. And this is how to apply anything I learn. And then be able to defend that.
    +++ 00:01:36;25 +++
    Student: So, we solve for B. Now we can use this to solve for all of ours. And then we just plug and chug, basically, and we got 89.7'.
    Raymond James: Give me a synopsis now.
    Student: That's how high we need to be from the center of the field to view the entire field.
    Peggy Burkins: We wanted to make it real. So, they ask the question all the time, and he talked about it in the lesson, "when am I ever gonna use this?" So, we wanted to make sure they knew exactly the purpose of the lesson.
    Raymond James: Math is real-life application. It's always real-life application. And we tend to forget that. We tend to get caught up in just number-crunching. And being able to do scenarios like this, where you're actually applying it, now it makes sense.
    Peggy Burkins: So, we're going to put our glasses on, we're going outside, and we're flying.
    Peggy Burkins: These can be as short as a charette - a three-hour strategy - in this case, this is five months long to create this drone. So you can imagine the amount of mathematics you can cover - in the five months - all related to something that the brain is going to remember forever because it's related to something that's real to them, something that's fun, and something that applies all the mathematics that they're learning for them to say, "I have to understand this, because I have to use it in order to complete this lesson that we've been given.
    Peggy Burkins: And this is the product, so, well done. Give yourselves a hand.
    +++ 00:03:13;23 +++

School Details

Forest High School
5000 Southeast Maricamp Road
Ocala FL 34480
Population: 2195

Data Provided By:



Peggy Brookins
Raymond James