Use the newspaper to teach math!

Use the newspaper in your classroom to teach math with activities from the guide, By the Numbers: Mathematical Connections in Newspapers for Middle School Students. This free guide, produced by the Newspaper Association of America Foundation, offers practical classroom math applications using the newspaper.

To download the entire 48-page pdf click here


Math Quick Hits from the guide:

• Students can use the temperatures listed on the weather page to make line graphs of the temperatures.

• Television viewing offers lots of different choices. Have students study the listings for prime-time viewing – 8 to 11 p.m. – on the three major broadcast networks and note the types of shows. Then have them compute the percentage of time geared to comedy, news, drama and sports. They should gather the data and create a pie graph showing the result.

• Have students use the weather page to choose 10 cities that are listed with their high and low temperatures. Have them compute the percentage of difference between the two for each city.

• Invite students to check out the help-wanted ads. They can determine the ratio of manufacturing jobs to sales jobs.

• Students can locate three examples each of perpendicular and parallel lines in the news photos.

• Here is a great activity that combines language arts and math. Have students skim the comic strips to find any slang expressions. For each strip in which they find slang, have them compute what percentage of the total words the slang comprises. You can do this same type of lesson having students identify pronouns, adverbs, etc.

• Have students use the used car ads to determine the percentage of the total that is represented by each make of car. How many Fords? How many Chevrolets? How many Nissans? Hondas? Toyotas? Saturns, etc.? Can they show each total as a fraction? As a decimal? As a percentage?

• Have students select a page from the newspaper that includes news stories and ads. Have them determine what fractional part of the page is taken up by ads.

• Challenge your students to brainstorm on easy ways to determine the total number of words and/or paragraphs on one page of the newspaper. Allow different groups to try out different methods and have one group actually count the words. See which method comes closest to the actual total.

• This activity will help students to understand the step-by-step method of transferring and transposing amounts and variables on paper. They should select a recipe from the newspaper’s food section and use their addition and multiplication skills to convert the amounts so that the recipe serves 28 people for a party.

• Another good activity using the information in the food section is to have students estimate the cost of a meal using advertised food items. They can estimate the cost of one meal for four people and then estimate the cost of serving a family of four for one day, then a week, and ultimately a year.

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