“When are we ever going to use this?”
If you have a middle schooler (or teach them), you’ve probably heard this question about Math. Truthfully, we all know that we use math at all levels of education from Kindergartners counting out crayons to adults figuring taxes.
What makes kids “get it” is bringing math to real life. Middle schoolers aren’t thinking about balancing a checkbook or figuring out miles per gallon on their vehicle, but we can help them make those connections. Taxes are at least a few years away, and most have mastered counting back change. Understanding the practical applications for Math practice today can help students apply their learning into adulthood.
Free Middle School Math Activities
Here are 8 free math activities to help your middle school student learn and grow with real-life math.
1. Table Talk Math
Sign up on this site to have prompts and articles delivered to help facilitate math discussions at home. When parents can help carry on conversations about learning in any context, it will help students understand its value!
These activities can be adapted for other sporting events, but it’s never too early to prepare for the biggest game of the season. Yummy Math gives dozens of ideas from Fantasy Football picks to analyzing whether or not a team should go for it on 4th down or even comparing the quarterback ratings of those with and without facial hair. Hey, the last one may be a little in left field (don’t let the baseball metaphor confuse you), but it does make learning fun!
3. Top Speed
This is an authentic learning activity from galileo.org (an educational network) to help students understand the relationship between distance and speed and using linear measurements. Students determine their top speeds while running skipping, and walking and then test the relationships between speed, distance, and time. This works best with a group, but it can be adapted in a homeschool setting.
Fueled by mathematical statements or prompts, students generate their activities and explore through inquiry. The menu on the side has a list of categorical prompts and even options for students and teachers to create their own statements.
It doesn’t get more real and fun than planning a vacay on a budget. It’s Fine in the Middle gives you the steps and resources to implement this project for students who finish other work early in the classroom, but it’s really relevant for all learners. Knowing how to manage money early may, in fact, help them take that dream vacation in the future!
This economic lesson from econedlink.org includes a lesson, student, and teacher resources to teach about supply and demand, OPEC, and the world implications of the cost of oil.
14 lessons with teacher and student resources are included for everything from budgeting and living on your own to credit cards and consumer privacy.
Thirteen Ed Online has hundreds of lessons on a variety of topics. This financial literacy lesson walks students through what it takes to start a small business.
Give your students something they can apply to real life situations through these authentic math tasks!