Movies and Math

I struggled to find a topic for this week.  Perhaps it was because I was ready for break week and didn’t want to think about school.

I was looking forward to going to our winter home in the Collingwood area and leaving school behind for a few days. It is our escape to the simpler life of small town.

It’s not winter yet, but it’s already snowed here which makes me look forward to ski season!

As I reflected on the past week at school, I found myself both frustrated and energized at the same time.

One class, continues to frustrate me.  Since I’ve already written about them, I will leave that for now.

In my other class, which is a level 1 foundational math class, we had some fun and laughs.  I love it when the class is positive and engaged!!

I was teaching a topic that most students learn in early high school, if not before. Many students have not seen these topics since then. For others, it’s been even longer if they have been away from high school for a while.   The topic was ratios, rates and proportions.

The nice part about this topic is that there are lots of examples all around us that help students to understand the material.

I told them stories about when I go grocery shopping and take pictures for math class.  They thought that it was pretty funny (and I am sure they thought it was geeky too).

 

 

 

If I can, I like bringing in clips from movies or television and use them as part of the teaching. It’s a fun way to learn math.

This week, I used a clip form Austin Powers.  I based my lesson on one created by Robert Kaplinsky. (http://robertkaplinsky.com/work/mini-me/)

Before I even started the clip, there was a lively debate on which movie the clip was from.  I guess you could say they were hooked!

I had the students first calculate Verne Troyer’s (mini-me) size compared to Mike Meyer’s (Dr. Evil) size.  At that point, the students were engaged, but they weren’t “sold’.

Then we watched the clip to see what the movie said the ratio was.

When the students heard that Mini-me was supposed to be 1/8 of Dr. Evil’s size, they were shocked.

The next task was to figure out, based on the movie and the real height of Dr. Evil, how big mini-me should be.  This got their curiosity going and they were all totally on this task!

They calculated that Mini-me should have been 8.5 inches.  Of course, they all realized how ridiculous that was and burst out laughing.

We talked about claims, such as the one that was made in the movie, and how knowing about math topics like ratios, rates and proportions can help us determine how true they are.

It was wonderful and exhilarating to watch the students get so into math!

I am always on the lookout for resources that I can use my class. I like to use movies or pictures from real life because it helps the students relate to the material.

Here’s some of the ones I found so far:

Movies

Pictures

If you have more resources that I or others might be able to use, please share in the comments below!

 

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