Connecting Math to Our Lives

Connecting Math to our Lives

This project was written for the Connecting Math to Our Lives Project

Common Core Standards

Download a template (.pdf) showing how the Connecting Math to Our Lives project is aligned to the Common Core 

Teacher goals:

  • To understand and appreciate how math is used in families and communities around the world. 

  • To think globally in order to share ideas and help our students see beyond their small world---globla citzens.

Student goals:

  • To make a difference in their community and the world by solving real problems with their math skills.
  • To encourage them to practice their skills in order to solve problems with other  across the globe.
  • To be proud of their knowledge and work product.
  • Students will know how others live and use math every day. 

Terms, principles and facts learned:

  • Explain, record observations using objects, words, pictures, numbers and technology

  • Use of graphs to compare data; graphs need a title, scale, labeled axis

  • Solve important problems by collecting, organizing, displaying and interpreting sets of data

Curriculum standards are addressed: is our website for local and state standards

Math standards:
  • 4.14A Identify mathematics in everyday situations
  • 4.14B Use a problem-solving model that incorporates understanding the problem, making a plan, carrying out the plan, and evaluating the solution for reasonableness.
  • 4.14C Select or develop an appropriate problem solving plan or strategy, including a drawing a picture, looking for a patterns, systematic guessing and checking, making a table, working a simpler problem, or working backwards to solve a problem
  • 4.14D Use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology
  • 4.15A Explain and record observations using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology
  • 4.15B Relate informal language to mathematical language and symbols terms of the situation the graph represents. 

Common Core State Standards

  • OA 4.1 Interpret a multiplication equation as a comparison, e.g., interpret 35 = 5x7 as a statement that 35 is 5 times as many as 7 and 7 times as many as 5.
  • OA 4.2 Multiply or divide to solve word problems involving multiplicative comparison, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem
  • OA 4.3 Solve multistep word problems posed with whole numbers and having whole-number answers using the four operations, including problems in which remainders must be interpreted. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity.     


  • RI 5.5 Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts (Craft and Structure)
  • RI 4.7 Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages)  (Integration of Knowledge and Ideas)
  • W 4.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. 
  • W 4.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. 
  • SL 4.1 Engage effectively in a range o f collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. 
  • SL 5.5 Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes. 
  • L 4.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. b. Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs
There are many more standards that this project (Connecting Math to Our Lives) incorporates. I looked at the other subjects: social studies, language arts, science, art and saw many standards.
My classroom can be enhanced by this project because they will be applying their math to real world situations. I have current events every week from another country, not USA. I teach a self-contained classroom (all subjects) and this project crosses the entire curriculum.  Thes possible projects on the description page such as "What Math Means to Me," Everyday Math in My Community," "Statistics and Society" will make math "real", not just a subject at 10:30 am everyday.

Students will be involved once a week not necessarily during math because some children are in another math class.
  • Week 1: Introduce the subject to the children, have them discuss with their parents.Begin talking about netiquette and watch the Discovering the Internet: Netiquette video. Practice.
  • Week 2: Talk with parents at "meet the teacher night" at school about our project and the final goal is to make a difference in our community. Continue working with the children. Ask children how they would introduce themselves to others from around the world.
  • Week 3: Have them do research, google "Connecting Math to Our Lives". There are actual websites with that title. (haven't been to them yet; I would do that first and then add to our search engine as explained above.
  • Week 4: Hopefully by this time we would have met some partners. introductions and etc. Begin working on their emails. Assign peer tutoring.
  • Week 5: Brainstorm places in the community where math is used. These are possilble places: talk to fire many times out; how often do they check the vehicles, water department --how much water on average do households use, police ---how many calls do they get per day, giving tickets. We live in a small town, Highland Park, TX surrounded by Dallas.
  • In the weeks following we could go after school in small groups for the children to interview the people. Parents would drive them to the Town Hall. 

Specific lessons:

I will present this to students the first week of school.

I will ask the students if they had ever thought about how math is used in their family on a daily basis and I will give examples from my experience. When I know the other participants, the class could predict what other places are like and do some investigating. 

Examples of across curricular studies: studying landforms in Texas, Native Americans that settled here, writing, reading about math and sharing books with others. 

Getting them interested:

That would come from my enthusiasm and asking questions, asking parents questions and others on their daily use of math, and having parents and principal come talk to the class.

Background knowledge: 

This would be math skills and what they have thought about the topic, Connecting Math to Our Lives 

Productivity of work

Will your students need to do research for their project?

Yes; have interviews, learn about other cultures and countries, states.

How will they be organized to gather information?

Teams of 2-4, it depends on each class.

Who will be responsible and in charge?

I will be in charge. The students can also be in charge through using project logs---each team tracks who is responsible for what job.
They could also draw up a team contract that describes members' responsibilities to the group.

How will you handle the project exchanges, how often, who will be in charge?

I will read the message before we send them to be sure they are following netiquette. Hopefully they will be able to do it on their own; I need to monitor them for a while at least. (The letter for parents on the blue sheets under the Prepare section of Multimeida Guide to iEARN is a good example).


How and when will your students collaborate or communicate with other students in the iEARN network?

At least once a week; it depends on the other teams.

Assessment of student work

How will the appropriateness of student work be evaluated?

Peers, teacher, our partners around the globe, student generated rubrics.

How will you assess the student work?

Provide an evaluation rubric either at beginning, middle, or end. 

Introduction stage of the project:

  • Muddiest point--- Students are asked to write down the muddiest point in the lesson (up to that point, what was unclear)

  • On Minute Paper---Teacher decides what the focus of the paper should be. Ask students, "What was the most important thing you have learned? What important question remains unanswered? Set aside 5-10 minutes of next class to discuss the results. May be used in middle of class also.

  • Graffiti Walls--- The teacher places a large sheet of paper on a smooth surface and invites the students to write or draw what they know about the topic. Students "sign" their work or statements, allowing the teacher to see, at a glance, misconceptions, naive conceptions, prior knowledge, and new learning targets.

Implementation of the project:

  • Self assessment could be in the form of KWL Chart ---Students complete a chart at the beginning of a unit of study, to determine what they already "K" know about the topic, and "W" what they would like to learn about the topic.  In the end of the unit students will revisit their charts and work on the "L" what I learned column.

  • Reports--- written communication is another important skill

Conclusion of the project:

  • Concept maps
  • Peer assessment 
  • Oral presentations. 

Conclusion of activity 

How will the students draw their projects to a conclusion?

Communicate with the other students and teachers.

Action items to consider in this phase: Bringing their work to closure and preparing to share with all. 

Possible Skills
Students will Use/Learn

  • Computer skills

  • Research skills

  • English language skills

  • Critique skills

  • Moodle (a website) for collaboration

  • Attitudes --understanding other cultures

  • Critical thinking
Interview techniques
  • Netiquette

Possible Activities

Students speaking to other students,
interview relatives

Talk with the local fire, police, and water departments, the library

Cross curricular fields in this project:

  • Geography
  • Social Studies
  • Science

Technological and material requirements

  • one to one computer access

  • Internet access

  • books

  • family members

  • community 


Filed in: Math, K-5