Math is All Around Us

Posted by Lynn Vessey on Nov 10, 2016 9:56:01 AM

Often students do not recognize that math is all around them. DSC_0145-1.jpg They know it is a subject
 they have to take in school, and some even enjoy it.  But they often do not appreciate that it is in almost every facet of their lives.  One of the best ways for students to appreciate is by doing. Adults can help students by helping them incorporate math in their everyday activities.  Here are a few activities to help students appreciate the omnipresence of math.

  • Dining out is a wonderful time to work on percentages.
    • Manually calculating the tax and tip.  Don’t forget to talk about what portion of the bill you want to look at to determine the tip.  (And don’t forget to talk about generosity for a job well done.)
  • Shopping is a great time to work on percentages and proportions.
    • Grocery shopping allows many opportunities to calculate cost of fruit, based on weight; determine if a deal is really a deal for your family; and practicing staying within a budget; looking for discounts and using coupons.
    • Clothing discounts.
    • Calculate taxes on other purchases.  This is also a great social opportunity to talk about why games or toys are taxed, but food and basic clothes are not.
  • Family outings
    • Determine how much it will cost to go to the movies and get a snack.  Try staying within a tight, but reasonable budget.
    • Planning a vacation involves maps, distances, cost, time, etc. Let the whole family plan the next trip.  Create a countdown to the time of departure (young children - days, older children - hours).
  • Sports are filled with math.
    • Follow the statistics in a baseball game.DSC_0001.jpg
    • Calculate bowling scores.
    • Determine yards gained in football.
    • Determine golf or mini-golf distances and scores.
  • Play games.
    • Mastermind strengthens our process of elimination.
    • Sudoku helps us see patterns and also practice process of elimination.
    • Logic puzzles and computer games.
    • Checkers or chess.
  • Cooking is one of the best ways to practice working with fractions.
    • Doubling or halving a recipe.
    • Converting between units of measure.  If I am tripling a recipe, what fraction of a cup will be used for the two tablespoons of olive oil in the original recipe? 
  • Planning a budget is a valuable lesson.
    • When your older child gets that first job, how is the money going to be spent or saved?  What percent should be saved?  What can be spent on recreational activities, being specific about movies, video games, candy, etc.
    • This also works for younger children who do chores and earn money accordingly.  
  • Around the house.
    • Determine the temperature and what clothing would be appropriate to wear.
    • Prepare a meal.
    • Painting a room requires determining the surface area and how much paint will be required.

Use your imagination.  Math is all around us.  There may be an old saying about, “stop and smell the roses”.  A new challenge, “stop and appreciate the math”.


Learn about PreK-8th grade education at Montgomery School


Topics: Education, math