Math is a building block for the sciences. It is through numbers and operations that we explain natural phenomena and engineering and medical accomplishments.
Meteorology concepts are introduced to students in biology and environmental science classes. But why should they have all the fun?
Combining math with climate and weather science is a great way to achieve cross-curricular enrichment. Here are some excellent online resources to challenge and enlighten!
- The Severe Storms Laboratory, a component of The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers free lesson plans for teaching math and weather-related topics. GoGeometry aggregates these lesson plans into an Interactive Mind Map.
- The PBS Mathline program has math problems and teaching ideas for combining math and meteorology. Topics include finding wind chill and rainfall measures.
- Scholastic has an Extreme Weather Math Hunt, where students are given factual graphs from around the web to help them answer math questions about weather.
What do you think of these resources? Do you have suggestions for combining math and weather studies?
is a time-honored tradition. High quality children’s literature can introduce and contextualize math concepts effectively.
More and more children's publishers want to bring storytelling, illustration, and math together. Even some of the genre’s classics are wonderful tools to bring math to a young audience.
Renowned math educator Marilyn Burns will be hosting a free webinar - Using Children's Literature to Teach Math - on November 15 at 3:30 p.m. eastern standard time.
Math Reads is a set of book collections and lessons for K-5 students full of fun stories which bolster math skills. By engaging students with these books, learning math concepts is fun and come naturally as part of the stories. The lessons are connected to the Common Core State Standards, focusing on critical concepts and skills for each grade.
In addition to Math Reads, do you remember these classics?
Beautiful illustrations explain different quantities in terms that young people can easily understand. For example, a billion children standing on each others’ shoulders would reach the moon. (Except for the whole breathing in space problem.) The appendix explains all the calculations... in case you don't believe that something is a million.
- Math Curse by David Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith.
This fun and quirky children's book is about a student who can't figure out math problems. Luckily, these very problems are featured in the book so the reader can help the cursed student.
One of my favorites! Rhythmic poetry, enticing illustrations, and counting the coolest creatures you ever saw.
If you have suggestions for teaching math through literature, please share them here!
We know that some students think that math “doesn’t matter
.” If math is too conceptual for some students, applied math could make the subject seem more useful. This is easier accomplished on the elementary school level where one teacher teaches all subjects, however collaboration between teachers can incorporate cross-curriculum activities.
There have been peer-reviewed studies, which show the benefits of incorporating teaching mathematics in a cross-curricular context. Applications for math education incorporated in a variety of fields have been discussed in academic literature, including history, art, drama, and physics.
While this blog is mostly concerned with K-12 education, cross-curricular education has been successfully implemented in a college setting. Dartmouth University offered the Mathematics Across the Curriculum (MATC) program, which sought to ensure mathematic competency for all Dartmouth graduates regardless of degree program. The objective of the program is straightforward, and in many ways is the goal of all mathematics education: In the same way that all students should be able to write an essay in any subject they have studied, all students should be able to look at a problem or situation or experiment and ask suitable mathematical questions.
There are multiple cross-curricular guides and lesson plans online. Education World has a great resource for cross-curricular instruction. Scholastic offers a variety of “authentic” math lesson plans. Scholastic also has a special section that offers cross-curricular instruction focused on the nexus of math and sports. The Discovery channel offers educational activities that focus on math, science and social studies.
Does cross-curricular education work in your experience? Does it enhance the experience of students, allowing engagement of a variety of student interests? Or does it water down the material, leaving students distracted or struggling? How can you best incorporate a cross-curricular approach to mathematics?