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Consulting Services and Programs
Professional Development - Curriculum Design - Program Development
Mathematics - Music - Science - Art - Interdisciplinary Studies

Professional development workshops in mathematics based on 21st Century Skills, global issues and sustainability are modified and adapted to suit various grade levels, contexts and needs. The two-day workshop described below was designed specifically for the Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES Summer Series on Sustainability (2007).

Making Math Relevant:
Learning Math Skills Through Real World Global Problems
Grades 6-10

(2-day workshop)

This workshop explores the use of a problem-based approach and guided inquiry explorations to create relevance, meaning and motivation for learning mathematics.   Curricular examples and problems are presented, discussed, examined and solved, with special attention on how the activities raise students' skill and understanding in specific standards-based content areas in math. Participants design "makeovers" of their existing mathcurricula to supply real world contexts and generate deep inquiry and problem solving experiences.   Critical global issues are examined for their ability to generate rich mathematical content, focusing primarily on the sustainability of natural resource consumption, "ecological footprinting," population issues, global economics and wealth distributions.  

A full range of math topics are addressed that can be adapted for grades 6-10.   All participants leave the workshop with a unit, lesson or module for use in their classrooms.


Curriculum Examples


Focusing Questions

Math Content and Topics

Global Issues and Associated Topics

Gone Fishing

The Sustainability of Ocean Fisheries

•  Why are fish harvests in the ocean declining?

•  What are the economic solutions and their impacts?

•  What are the ecological solutions and their impacts?

•  Data tables and graphing

•  percents,

•     iteration

•  algebra:   word problems, setting up equations, equation solving symbol manipulation

•  mathematical   modeling

•  critical thinking

•  geopolitical interdependence

•  peace and security issues

•  ecosystem degradation

•  sustainability

•  sustainable economics

Our Growing World

Population and Ecological Footprints

•  How can mathematics help us see the difference between perception and reality?

•  Is there a population problem?

•  What is the extent of the problem?

•  What problems are associated with large population growth?

•  How can society best cope with growing population?

•  exponential functions (nature of, behavior, graphs, range, domain)

•  geometric sequences

•  scientific notation

•  solving exponential equations (guess and check and use of logarithms)

•  unit conversions, dimensional analysis, linear and area unit relationships

•  laws of exponents

•  graph interpretation,   extrapolation,

•  mathematical modeling

•  critical thinking

•  number sense, reasonableness of answers

•  Sustainability

•  ecosystem degradation

•  world hunger

•  species extinctions

•  carrying capacity

•  ecological footprint

•  population growth

•  mental models related to behavior

The End of Oil

Mathematical Insights Into Oil Shortage Issues

•  Is there a problem with oil supply?

•  When will the world run out of oil?

•  How will a supply side approach help the solution (drilling)?

•  How will conservation help solve the problem?

•  geometric series, series sums,

•  common ratios

•  exponential functions

•  geometric   mean  

•  scientific notation

•  laws of exponents

•  equation solving, computation,

•  critical thinking

•  energy independence

•  terrorism,

•  peace and security

•  non renewable resources

•  propaganda and the media

Growing Geometry

Fractal Models of Nature

•  Does Euclidean geometry exist in nature?

•  How does the length of the coastline of Hawaii compare to Australia?

•  What kind of geometry does nature create?

  • fractal geometry, iterative functions
  • Euclidean geometry, area formulas, perimeter calculations
  • sequences, patterns
  • factoring
  • modeling
  • algebra:   symbol manipulation, solving equations

•  land use management

•  watershed drainage

•  weather prediction

•  modeling nature and ecosystems