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Curricula for Global Sustainability Education

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Real World Math: Engaging Students through Global Issues - Teacher's Guide
Real World Math: Engaging Students through Global Issues - Teacher's Guide

Teacher's Guide
Real World Math promotes student engagement by providing real-world data on global issues with a focus on practical solutions. This teacher’s guide concentrates on foundational algebra and geometry concepts. All lessons are aligned with National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards and Expectations. Topics range from climate change to financial literacy and build both mathematical knowledge and global perspective. Complementary datasets are also available to download for free. 


Simply, add a teacher's guide and student workbook to your shopping cart. The discount will automatically be applied to your order.
ISBN 9780981557724
Price $24.95
Starting from: 20 items $19.96
Starting from: 50 items $18.71

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Free Previews & Table of Contents

Introduction and Table of Contents

The introductory pages and table of contents of Real World Math.

Download the introduction and table of contents for FREE!Student textbook download Download the introduction and table of contents for FREE!Teacher's guide download


Lesson 1. Number Patterns: Waste & Recycling

Students explore number patterns related to the disposal and recycling of plastic bottles. Long-term trends in waste production per person are graphed, and students break down the percentages of various materials that compose our waste stream.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: Waste Not, Want Not
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Patterns

Lesson 2. Introduction to Algebra: Poverty & Microcredit

Through a simulation activity, students learn about microcredit lending — a financing structure that supports small-scale business ventures and is designed to help people rise out of poverty. Students solve algebraic equations in order to complete a microcredit loan application.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: Microcredit Business Plan
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Algebra

Lesson 3. Modeling Integers: Population Growth

Students examine growing and declining populations and predict future population growth based on current population growth rates. Integers are plotted on a coordinate plane to examine the pattern of population decline in Japan. Students discuss the consequences of different patterns of population growth.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: The Ups and Downs of Population
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Integers

Lesson 4. Solving Algebraic Equations: Food Choices

Students examine how choices in daily activities and nutrition affect individual well-being and sustainability. They consider how caloric intake relates to calories burned. They read nutrition labels, review recommended daily allowances, and solve algebraic equations to determine healthy eating habits.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: You Are What You Eat
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Solving Equations

Lesson 5. Data & Graphs: Youth Conflict

Students examine information compiled by the Youth Violence Project to explore recent trends in violence among youth. Students create a variety of graphs to represent various statistics related to conflict among youth. They then reflect on possible root causes of the observed trends.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: Increasing the Peace
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Data & Graphs

Lesson 6. Number Theory: Consumption Choices

Students evaluate their personal consumption choices and the factors that influence those choices. Utilizing information in a table, students create an algebraic equation to compare embodied energy in cups made of different materials. After reviewing information related to the environmental impacts and the costs of a number of different cups, students must choose which cup to purchase.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: Paper or Plastic?
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Fractions

Lesson 7. Rational Numbers: Financial Decisions

Students begin by analyzing information from a credit card offer. They then work through calculations to analyze financial choices made by 2 young people. The activity connects to national budgeting and debt by investigating the revenues and expenditures of 2 countries.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: Did You Budget for That?
  • Lesson Handout: National Spending Spree
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Percent
Download Lesson 7 for FREE!Student textbook download Download Lesson 7 for FREE!Teacher's guide download

Lesson 8. Proportion, Percent, & Probability: Global Health

Students compare life expectancy among several countries and discuss possible explanations for observed differences. Life expectancy is correlated with other statistics for multiple countries. During a class discussion, students analyze the usefulness of life expectancy as an indicator of a country’s well-being.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: Live Long and Prosper
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Rates, Ratios, & Proportions

Lesson 9. Solving Inequalities: Carbon Emissions

Students create connections between individual actions and climate change. They work with algebraic inequalities to consider how many and what types of activities can be performed while staying within a limited carbon budget.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: Budgeting for Climate Change
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Inequalities

Download Lesson 9 for FREE!Student textbook download Download Lesson 9 for FREE!Teacher's guide download

Lesson 10. Spatial Thinking: Solar Power

Students reflect on ways in which they use energy for everyday activities and the fuels used to power those activities. Students use geometric and trigonometric formulas to calculate unknown angles and side lengths of a triangle formed by a solar panel that is tilted to optimize incoming solar radiation. Implications of utilizing renewable energy sources, including solar power, are considered in light of climate change and energy security.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: What’s Your Angle?
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Angles

Lesson 11. Area & Transformations: Wildlife Habitats

Snow leopards are an endangered species of wildcat that are native to the mountains of central Asia. Students compare the sizes of different habitats snow leopards live in around the world and practice transforming a trapezoid on a coordinate plane. They reflect on what makes this species endangered, characteristics of a proper habitat, and different ways of helping endangered species to survive.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: Home Sweet Habitat
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Transformations

Lesson 12. Surface Area& Volume: Sustainable Design

Students analyze the characteristics of sustainably designed items. In a real-world application exercise, students calculate the surface area and volume of a prism and a cylinder in order to connect geometric properties to sustainable design principles. A closing discussion raises questions about the applicability of sustainable design to different situations, as well as its social and economic impacts.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: Taking Shape
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Surface Area & Volume

Download Lesson 12 for FREE!Student textbook download Download Lesson 12 for FREE!Teacher's guide download

Lesson 13. Linear Functions: Systems & Global Education

This 2-day lesson begins with a lively introductory activity in which students examine how a system works. They experience limits to success, redesign a system to improve efficiency, and begin to identify assumptions that drive human behavior. Then students analyze current global trends in primary school education and use systems thinking to generate solutions that address root causes of barriers to education.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: Bears in the Air
  • Lesson Handout: Making the Grade
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Linear Functions

Lesson 14. Midpoint & Distance Formulas: Resource Distribution

By plotting the geographical coordinates of community resources in a given city, students will consider how the location of resources affects sustainability. Students calculate distances and midpoints using coordinate geometry.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: Putting Sustainability on the Map
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Midpoint & Distance

Lesson 15. Data Analysis: Quality of Life

In this 2-day lesson, students develop indicators to measure quality of life and conduct a survey of peers and adults to obtain data for their indicators. They analyze the survey data by calculating measures of central tendency and producing charts to demonstrate their results.

  • Lesson Plan
  • Lesson Handout: Quality of Life Survey Instructions
  • Lesson Handout: Quality of Life Survey
  • Lesson Handout: The Good Life
  • Practice Worksheet: Practice with Data Analysis


Preview Video

In this archived webinar you will learn more about how you can use Real World Math to engage your students and increase their understanding of foundational algebraic and geometric concepts. Hear from Facing the Future staff and classroom teachers about ways to use this research-based teacher's guide and student textbook to support the development of math skills through highly engaging real-world investigations of current global issues.

Resource Details 

Why Use Real World Math?

When introducing new mathematics concepts to students, you may have heard them ask, “When will I ever use this?” and “How does this affect me?” Real World Math: Engaging Students through Global Issues promotes student engagement by providing real data on global issues with a focus on practical solutions.

Foundational algebra and geometry skills are taught here within the context of global issues and sustainability. Sustainability refers to the ability of current generations to meet their needs without limiting the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Students will investigate a range of sustainability issues, including quality of life, community resource distribution, educational attainment, and waste/recycling methods.

These investigations encourage students to build on their mathematics knowledge while simultaneously using 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration with peers, and applying a global perspective. These combined skills will help prepare students for the future and engage them in problem-solving activities similar to ones they will encounter as active, engaged citizens.

The teacher’s guide includes 15 lessons that were inspired, researched, designed, and field tested by mathematics teachers and other education professionals. Lessons are aligned with learning standards developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Each lesson has additionally been aligned with concepts taught in the nation’s most widely used textbooks on introductory algebra and geometry. Real world data sets and teaching ideas have been included to further support contextual math explorations.

Action projects and lesson extensions have also been included to allow learning beyond one-day classroom activities. In addition, there are master pages that correspond to the student workbook  a resource that includes lesson handouts, supplemental worksheets, and topical sustainability readings. These lessons can be used as hook activities to start a unit of study, as reinforcement for previously learned concepts, or as real world assessments of learning.

This guide is a tool to help support your efforts in equipping your students with the knowledge and skills they need to solve problems big and small. Enjoy these investigations!

 

How to Use Real World Math

Real World Math can be used to supplement lessons within many popular U.S. math textbooks and is often compatible with existing curriculum requirements and topics. This textbook extends students’ learning through an interdisciplinary approach to issues.

 

State Standards

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Datasets

To complement Real World Math, below are several online supplements that can be used alongside different lessons in the book. The six Excel files include real-world data featured in Real World Math. Students can use Microsoft Excel to create graphs using the data provided. The TI-Nspire lesson is an adaptation of Real World Math Lesson 5, “Data & Graphs: Youth Conflict”.

Lesson 1 Dataset – Number Patterns: Waste & Recycling (Excel)

Download the Lesson 1 Dataset for FREEThis dataset includes changes in the average pounds of waste discarded per person per day in the United States, 1960 to 2000. This dataset is for use with lesson 1, in which students use the data to create a line graph illustrating how waste disposal per person has changed over time.

 

Lesson 3 Dataset – Modeling Integers: Population Growth (Excel)
Download the Lesson 3 Dataset for FREE

This dataset includes changes in population size and age structure in Japan, 1990 to 2050. This dataset is for use with lesson 3, in which students use the data to calculate changes in population by age group and to graph the trend of population change in Japan.

 

Lesson 5 Dataset – Data & Graphs: Youth Conflict (Excel)

Download the Lesson 5 Dataset for FREEThis dataset includes different statistics related to youth violent crime rates in the United States. This dataset is for use with lesson 5, in which students use the data to create bar and line graphs and a scatterplot illustrating trends in youth violence conflict.

 

Lesson 5 Dataset – Data & Graphs: Youth Conflict (TI-Nspire)

This activity is an adaptation of Lesson 5, “Data & Graphs: Youth Conflict”, designed for use with the TI-Nspire.

Contact us to request this FREE activity.

Lesson 8 Dataset – Proportion, Percent, & Probability: Global Health (Excel)

Download the Lesson 8 Dataset for FREEThis dataset includes a variety of global health indicators for sixteen countries. This dataset is for use with lesson 8, in which students calculate changes in life expectancy for individual countries and correlate life expectancy with other national statistics.

 

Lesson 13 Dataset – Linear Functions: Systems & Global Education (Excel)

Download the Lesson 13 Dataset for FREEThis dataset includes indicators of progress on the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal on education. This dataset is for use with lesson 13, in which students create line graphs to assess trends in target and actual percentages of primary school completion in four world regions.

 

Appendix B Dataset – Data & Graphs: Democracy & Freedom of Information (Excel)

Download the Lesson Appendix B Dataset for FREEThis dataset provides indices for the levels of democracy and freedom of information for twenty-nine countries. This dataset is for use with Appendix B (Additional Datasets and Teaching Ideas), in which students create scatterplots to determine whether level of democracy correlates with access to digital information.

Classroom Examples 

The classroom examples below shows how Real World Math can be used to address a variety of classroom challenges and increase student involvement.

 
Heidi Rudolph
  • School: Orange High School, Pepper Pike, OH
  • Grades: 9-10     Classroom Size: 14
  • Subject: Math


Amy Spies
  • School: Community Learning Center East, Port Orange, Florida
  • Grades: 7-9     Classroom Size: ~15
  • Subject: Math

Educator Quotes

 Although we generally work with a lot of story problems in math, these lessons are more involved and are not at all contrived. 

- Angie Flynn, Math and Science Teacher, Grade 7, Providence, RI

 

 The lesson was active, it involved using and applying skills that they had just learned (slope and linear equations). The discussion about systems and education provided many students opportunities to talk and express their opinion, which doesn’t happen when teaching from a traditional textbook. ... My students loved it because it was so different from the normal and it was very student involved and interesting. 

- Sue Solomon, Math Teacher, Grade 8, Billings, MT



 The other teachers and I loved this as a supplemental activity that reviewed using algebraic equations in a real world situation. 

- Erica Bergamini, Math and Science Teacher, Grade 6, Seattle, WA 

 

 Rather than using prescribed practice items, this provided real world skills. It wasn’t an add-on, but just a replacement of less effective materials. 

- Amy Spies, Math Teacher, Grades 7-9, Florida 

 

 These activities evoke a personal connection between global issues and necessary math skills. 

- Math Teacher, Florida

 

 These lessons were wonderful in reinforcing ideas and practicing new learning. 

- Math Teacher, Georgia

 

 Students of all levels were engaged. 

- Math Teacher, New Jersey

Professional Development

Facing the Future offers the following professional development opportunities to help you learn more about Real World Math: Engaging Students through Global Issues:

Real World Math Webinar

In this webinar you will learn more about how you can use Real World Math to engage your students and increase their understanding of foundational algebraic and geometric concepts. Hear from Facing the Future staff and classroom teachers about ways to use this research-based teacher's guide and student textbook to support the development of math skills through highly engaging real-world investigations of current global issues.

 

 

Speaker

To learn more about our upcoming workshops, webinars, and conferences, please visit our Workshop Calendar. If you are interested in having Facing the Future host a webinar for your next event, please contact us.

 

Real World Math Workshop

Sustainability by the Numbers: Using Foundational Algebra and Geometry to Address Real World Issues

Engage middle school students with contemporary issues like carbon footprint, national debt, sustainable design, renewable energy, and population growth in your math classes. In this workshop you’ll participate in hands-on geometry and algebra lessons that use real world data to engage students with the numbers in real world contexts that are relevant to their own lives. Lessons from Facing the Future’s Real World Math textbook provide the techniques and content knowledge necessary to teach about global issues in the 21st century.



Additional Professional Development Opportunities

 

To learn more about our upcoming workshops, webinars, and conferences, please visit our Workshop Calendar. If you are interested in having Facing the Future present at your next event, please contact us.

Supplementary Materials

To complement Real World Math, this section contains background information and additional resources to help educators and students learn more about global issues and sustainability.

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