Here are some math quickie newspaper lessons from the Washington Times.
Palindromes: Search for numbers in the newspaper that are palindromes (a number that remains the same when written backwards, such as 656). If you can’t find a palindromic number, compute the palindrome of any number by reversing the digits and adding the numbers together. For example, to find the palindrome of 369, add 963 to it. This gives 1,332, which is not a palindrome. Then add its reverse (2,331) to it, which equals 3663, a palindrome.
Computing Commissions: Determine the commission you would make if you sold a car listed in the classified section and made 13% commission. Find the car you would most like to sell and compute the commission you’d make.
Computing Car Finance Charges: Identify and cut several ads from the newspaper that offer credit terms. Determine the total amount paid for the product under the credit terms. For example, find your dream car in the classified ads. Pretend that you put $2,000 down payment and finance the balance for three years at 15%. How much will you pay the bank? What will your monthly payments be?
Interest on Savings: Put $1,000 in an imaginary savings account. Skim the bank ads in the The Washington Times to determine which savings plan would be most profitable. Compute the interest on this money at the end of one year if the interest in compounded quarterly at 7.5 %.
Budgeting for Travel: Plan a trip! Pretend that you have $2,000 to go anywhere you want. Skim the The Washington Times for advertisements on vacation areas and transportation. Make a list of your possible expenses and budget your money for the trip.
Miles Per Gallon: Use a car advertisement from the newspaper that gives the estimated miles per gallon. Determine the cost of driving from your city to another at the current price of gasoline per gallon.
Vital Statistics: Look through the obituaries in teh newspaper and find the average age of death for one day. Keep a record of your findings for a week and graph your results. On one given day: Find the median age of death, the mode age of death, the average age of death for men and the average age of death for women.
Graphing TV Entertainment: Categorize the television shows in today’s TV schedule in the newspaper into the following headlines: religious, educational, humorous, sports or informative. Calculate the fractional part of the total TV schedule occupied by each type of show. Construct a circle graph to illustrate this.
Surface Area: Calculate the surface area of the walls in your room. Determine the amount of paint you need. Shop for paint in the The Washington Times ads to get the best paint for your money. Determine the cost of painting your room. (Assume that one gallon of paint covers 400 square feet.)
Geometry — Lines and Angles: Clip pictures from the newspaper that illustrate different types of lines (parallel, perpendicular and askew). Or find pictures that illustrate different types of angles (right, acute, obtuse and straight.)
Math in the News: Select an article of interest in the newspaper concerning science, technology, business or home economics. Identify the role played by mathematics in the event described in the article.
Metric Measuring — Areas: Choose three pictures or ads from the newspaper. Using a metric rule, figure the area of each ad in square centimeters. Then convert each into square millimeters and square meters.