Math 7-9

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Math 7-9 > Strategies > Real-world Math

Real-world Math


When teachers connect math to the students' world, students see how math is relevant and applicable to their daily lives. These real-world connections are also great ways to integrate math with other disciplines to create cross-curricular connections, fostering Mathematical Flexibility and supporting Motivation and a Sense of Beloning by helping students see the relevance of all they are studying. For this strategy to be most effective, is it important to think about the relevance of the real-world context to the students' individual and cultural contexts so that the connections are truly "real-world" for the students.

Use It in the Classroom

Hear how one teacher connects an eighth-grade Common Core standard to the real lives of his eighth grade students -- with candy and money! By seeing tangible examples of the concepts behind Algebraic Thinking and Proportional Reasoning, students can develop a deeper understanding of equations.

  • Teachers can plan activities and projects that connect students' lived experiences to the math concepts they are learning, helping students develop a positive Math Mindset. First, a teacher should learn about students' interests and activities then think about how to incorporate them into math (e.g., video game scoring, spending an allowance). Then they can design activities that encourage students to apply math in contexts outside of the math classroom.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    Learn how eSpark Learning provides videos that include real-world word problems. This specific example focuses on solving word problems relating to money, which allows students to practice calculating Operations with real money.

  • Products can provide diverse problems that are situated in real-world, global contexts. For example, structuring math problems within the lens of social justice not only ties in content from other subjects, like history and literature, but it also allows students to solve problems that are personally meaningful to them.
  • Resources

    Below are additional examples, research, and professional development. These resources are possible representations of this strategy, not endorsements.

    Factors Supported by this Strategy