Integrating Math Into Other SubjectsOctober 7, 2014
Math is the least liked subject for many homeschool parents and children. It can be scary, boring and frustrating. But math doesn’t have to be any of these things. Research has shown that children learn best and better understand what they are learning about when they can make connections with previous learning or with different areas of learning. I have experimented with this over the last few years and have found it to be 100% true. Integrating math into our other subjects and making it part of our everyday life has really helped make it fun and engaging for my children. Put an end to the dreaded question, “when will I ever use this,” by showing them real world applications. It takes some thinking outside the box, but it can be done!
Here are some ideas to help you get started with integrating math into other subjects (you may notice that some of these cross over into several subjects):
- Write a report or complete a journal page on mathematicians (grab a FREE journal page at the end of this post).
- Learn about the history of clocks. Purchase some inexpensive clocks and take them apart and put them back together. Then practice telling time using the clocks.
- Learn how various cultures told time throughout history and write a report.
- Calculate the number of years between various events.
- Learn about the history of the scale and experiment with different types of scales.
- Learn about the history of currency.
- Write the distance between the sun and each planet using exponential form.
- Explore the half-life of certain radioactive elements or the size of bacteria and viruses using negative exponents.
- Explore scientific facts, such as the boiling and freezing point of liquids, the melting and freezing point of solids and the temperature of planets.
- Use algebra to calculate how much force a given magnet would pull on another magnet.
- Build a weight bearing bridge using various household items. Create a design and reduce it to scale, prepare cost analysis and then build and test the bridge.
- Analyze rainfall over a time period for a specific area and create a chart or graph.
- Use math to prove various laws of physics.
- Measure and collect scientific data and use graphs, charts, lists, tables etc. to organize the data.
- Compare the speed of several animals on a bar graph.
- Track the weather or temperature and create a bar graph. Here is a FREE weather graphing worksheet.
- Create a geometric greeting card using shapes that are congruent, similar, and equivalent.
- Examine works of art that incorporate geometric shapes.
- Create tessellations.
- Play with tangrams.
- Create a piece of artwork using perspective and proportion.
- Learn about the French scientists and mathematicians that were placed on plaques in the Eiffel Tower more than 100 years ago.
- Plan a trip by land, sea or air. Map a starting point and destination, decide on appropriate transportation and determine a reasonable speed. Next, calculate the distance that will be traveled and the time the trip will take. Also, identify landmarks along the way and write postcards about the places visited.
- Calculate the distance between various cities, states or countries.
- Learn to read grid coordinates and find places on a map through the use of latitude and longitude.
- Use a map scale to determine the distances between two points on a map to learn about the connection between scale and actual distance.
- Use Lego bricks or blocks to create replicas of famous buildings, monuments, or structures. While building discuss mathematical concepts such as perimeter, area, and volume
- Draw bar graphs comparing populations, per capita income, population density, etc. of various countries.
- Figure out the percentages of cultures that speak English.
- Learn about the different types of currency in other countries.
- Go through a newspaper and black out all of the numeral or number words on a page. Read the article without the numerals or number words and discuss why they are so important.
- Learn about the role trade and value play in economics.
- Write a report or complete a journal page on mathematicians (grab a FREE journal page below).
- Provide written explanations for solutions to math problems.
- Read a variety of books off a list then figure out the percentage of the books that were liked, disliked, etc. Create a chart or graph to show the results.
- Read stories that include counting, math facts, etc.
- Create a math journal. Provide topics to write on like: write an explanation of a recently-learned concept, as if you were explaining it to a younger sibling or friend, write as many examples of a ratio that you can think of in five minutes or write a paragraph explaining a selected graph.
- Write a haiku poem for geometric solids (Haiku, and its three line, five syllable, seven syllables, five syllable format is quite appropriate for a math activity!).
- Learn how these music terms rhythm, time, tone, tune, pitch, frequency, and amplitude go hand in hand with math.
- Create and experiment with a monochord.
- Examine the binary number system. Look at the relationship between base 2 numbers and how computer circuitry was developed.
- Compute the percentage of wins and losses of a favorite sports team.
- Draw graphs to sort data for Olympic games, Super Bowls, batting averages, etc.
- Discuss the food pyramid. Then compare foods on the pyramid to foods eaten, keep a fat-counting diary, calculate the number of calories from fat eaten in a week, find the daily average of fat and compare fat intake with other family members (create a graph for comparisons).
- Learn about physics and math while having fun playing pool, baseball, or a game of bowling. Even roller skating incorporates math and physics.
- Weigh and measure several family members and create a bar graph showing the results.
Everyday Life Application:
- Learn the importance of financial literacy. View my blog article here to get 2 free worksheets (budget worksheet and financial record worksheet).
- Learn how to calculate sales tax, discounts, etc, on consumer goods.
- Weigh fruits and vegetables and calculate what the total cost will be.
- Learn about home loans and how to calculate sales price, interest, commission percentages and more.
- Play store, shop or business. Practice counting money, writing invoices/estimates and more.
- Bake some tasty treats or cook a meal and learn about fractions, doubling recipes, calculating weights, etc.
- Take a trip to the playground to understand algebra. For example, calculate how fast a person will travel down a slide by using their weight and height of the slide.
- Examine artwork at an art museum and look for geometric shapes, perspective, etc.
- Calculate the age of artifacts at a history museum.
- Take a field trip to the Federal Reserve or a bank.
- Take a stroll in the city and discuss how math is used to construct a building.
- Calculate how many miles a car gets on a tank of gas.
- Visit a garden in a park and discuss symmetry or how much mulch it takes cover the garden area.
- Interview people in various careers to find out how they use mathematics in their career. They can also be asked to keep a mathematics diary to record everything mathematical they encounter in a day at their job.
If you have child that loves Lego bricks click here to read a post about how to use Lego bricks as a math manipulative.
There are hundreds of more way to integrate math into other subjects but hopefully this list will be the spring board you need to get started.
Download your FREE Mathematician Journal Page.