Real World Math

Barbara J. Feldman

In honor of April’s status as Math Education Month, I’m starting off the month with a look at how math is used in our everyday lives. Like the little girl in Jon Scieszka’s “Math Curse,” who wakes up to find everything in her world has turned into a math problem, once you go looking for it, you will find math everywhere. Galileo summed it all up when he concluded “Mathematics is the alphabet with which God has created the universe.”

  • Math in Daily Life5 stars

    "When you buy a car, follow a recipe, or decorate your home, you're using math principles. People have been using these same principles for thousands, even millions, of years, across countries and continents. Whether you're sailing a boat off the coast of Japan or building a house in Peru, you're using math to get things done." This essay for teens and adults explores the ubiquity of math. Hidden within each section you'll find interactive activities such as a worksheet to determine whether you should lease or buy a car, and a savings calculator that demonstrates the power of compound interest.

  • Moneyopolis5 stars

    Taking off where Fleetkids ends, Moneyopolis offers financial education for middle-school kids. "Moneyopolis is a challenging math game, which requires you to demonstrate your math skills in the context of some real life money matters." Created by the national accounting firm Ernst & Young, Moneyopolis is based on their five-step financial process: assessment, goal setting, strategy setting, implementation, and review/adjust. You begin the game as a new resident of Moneyopolis, with $600 to your name. Your goal is to tour all seven centers, save at least $1,000 and earn three Community Service Medallions.

  • Plane Math Activities4 stars

    A blend of aeronautics and math, these nine airplane activities for elementary ages are excellent illustrations of real world math. In addition to the lessons (such as finding the shortest flight path between two cities and calculating airplane capacity), each section includes an interview with an aeronautic expert who describes his position, and answers the question "How do you use math in your job?"

  • What Good is Math?3 stars

    "At one time, you may have asked yourself, 'What good is math?' This page was created to answer that question. We realize that math will not give an answer to 'the meaning of life,' but it will help you out in more ways than one. We all use math every day, most of the time without even realizing it! Here are some situations that you may find yourself in on any given day. Each one involves the use of math skills. Don't be scared!" Take a look at how math is used in: art, school grades, shopping, sports, party planning, road trips, and money management.

  • Honorable Mentions

    The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

    Cite This Page

  • Feldman, Barbara. "Real World Math." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 31 Mar. 1999. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. < >.

  • About This Page

  • By . Originally published March 31, 1999. Last modified March 12, 2014.

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