Archive | Using stories in math

Temperature for Positive and Negative Numbers

Kids struggle with positive and negative numbers … that’s a given. But I’ve recently hit on a reliable way to eliminate the confusion … temperature. Using a temperature scale as a model for solving integer problems has several advantages: 1)  It’s a system students already know from everyday life. 2)  The relationships among positive temperatures, [...]

Math in movies: Who says math isn’t cool?

Who says math is not “cool”? Check out this list of movies that prominently feature math content in the storyline? This should be enough to motivate many of our students who complain that math is not relevant to the “real world,” or who just feel that math is only for “nerds.”

Origins of the Coordinate Plane

One of the legends of math relates to the invention of the coordinate plane system. The legend states that Descartes was inspired to invent this system after watching a fly move around on the ceiling over his bed. This post tells the story and points out its relevance for modern math teachers.

How to factor out the GCF with stories

Real-life stories, related to algebraic procedures, can dramatically help students understanding both what the process is about, and how to do the process. Here I show how two real-life stories can help students master the steps required for factoring the GCF out of a polynomial.