A Trip Around the World in Math Class

Math Learning Objective:
Learn how to add and subtract large numbers

Normally I would have:

  • led a whole group learning session on how to add and subtract large numbers
  • practice on white boards
  • complete graded activity 
This time I:
  • still led a whole group learning session on how to add and subtract large numbers
Here is where the change came into play… instead of having them practice on their white boards, we pretended that we were going to take a trip to Cairo, Egypt. However, we had two choices: we could fly to Africa via way of Rome, or fly to Africa via way of Athens. The students had to now research: 
  • distance from DFW to Rome
  • distance from Rome to Cairo
  • distance from DFW to Athens
  • distance from Athens to Cairo
Not only did the students learn how to add and subtract large numbers, but they also had a chance to learn about our world. This math activity led to, “What would we do while we were there? What type of clothing should we pack? What types of foods would we eat?” My learning objective was met, but in a much deeper sense. I have learned that all of us have creative juices flowing, we just have to be willing to think of things differently. Keep your learning objective at the front of your mind, but ask yourself, “How can I meet this learning objective in a different way than the traditional way?”

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