Mathemanities

My students are used to hybrid subject names. Right now, they are working on a “scimanities” project in science and humanities. They see the same teacher for humanities and English, which has come to be known as “humlish”, and since I see the same students for math and science, the lines between those subjects are often blurred as well. The latest hybrid, which is the students’ invention, is “mathemanities”.

My students are working on a math project in which they are looking at statistics that describe the lives of children around the world. Each student is responsible for one statistic that they must represent in different forms in order to send a powerful message. The project ties in with what they have learned in humanities about being a global citizen and, serendipitously, connects with their current work on persuasive writing in English class.

I am lucky to work in a highly collaborative environment where I have time to talk to my colleagues about what is happening in their classes and can then make connections to what is going on in my classes. But what is really exciting about “mathemanities”, is that the students seem to be making those connections themselves. They understand that what they learn in one class is applicable in another. They seem to have realized that learning how to represent a percentage in different ways can strengthen their ability to understand what life is like for children in other places and give them more options when making a persuasive message. Conversely, by reprensenting fractions, decimals, percents, ratios and rates in a meaningful, real-world context, they are developing a stronger understanding of those forms of representation.

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One thought on “Mathemanities

  1. I really like this name “Mathemanities.” Students struggle to see connections between subjects, and when they can’t use what they learn in context, it is less useful for them. So your project, which allows students to see that what they learn in one domain is useful in another, is an excellent idea, and I think it will also help build students’ ability to think abstractly.

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