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### Math is Everywhere (A First-Week Math Project for Upper Grades)

I am always on the lookout for some new first-week activities to do with my 6th grade math students. In addition to "get to know you" activities, I like to find projects that are fun, math-related, and motivating for students during those first few weeks. One of these projects that I have always done during the first week of school (but you could really do any time of the year) is my Math is Everywhere tile activity. Before the year starts, I buy some white card stock (or white-ish...this year I got some silver/metallic card stock). I then cut them into square tiles. This year I cut them into tiles with 5 inch sides, but I think I have done 6x6 in past years. Whatever works for you! I use a corner rounder from Target to round of the corners of the tiles.  Here are the tiles and the start of my example tile that I created to show my students.

For the project, students must think of a place that they see or use math in the real world. I usually brainstorm a list as a class, and then students can either use one from the list or think of their own topic! Once they choose a topic, they use a tile, pencil, ruler, and colored pencils to show how they see math in their topic. Being the baseball fan that I am, I chose to make my Math is Everywhere tile about how we see and use math in baseball. Below is my finished example tile!

*Tip: Many of my students who choose a sport want to know the dimensions of the court, field, etc. Last year, I printed out sheets that had the dimensions to save the time and hassle of students looking them up!

Once the students are finished creating their tile, there is one more step. On the back of the tile, they must write at least three sentences describing what they chose and how math is seen in their topic. Here is the example that I wrote for baseball.

Finally, once all of the tiles are finished and turned in (don't forget names!), I put them all up on my bulletin board. I cut out the words "Math is Everywhere" and staple them in the middle of the board, surrounding it with all of the finished tiles! Here is a shot of this year's tiles! I have a few more still to add, but it's already starting to come together!

Update: I posted the "Math is Everywhere" bulletin board letters for free in my TpT store. Be sure to grab them at the following link! Also included in the resource are letters that say "Welcome to 6th Grade" that I use for my hallway bulletin board.

For more ideas about setting up the middle school math classroom, be sure to check out my post titled 6 Ideas for Setting Up the Middle School Math Classroom.

I am excited to link up this post with Miss Math Dork's awesome monthly Math IS Real Life link up! Click the link or picture to see some other great ways we see math in the real world!

#### 49 comments :

1. How do yo cut those letters out as circles? By hand?

2. How do yo cut those letters out as circles? By hand?

1. I made the letters and circles around them on Powerpoint and then cut them out by hand. Then I glued the circles onto the colored cardstock and cut the cardstock around the white circles! A little time consuming...but this was during the summer when free time still existed. :)

3. Fantasitc idea! I will definitely be using this activity in the future.

4. Really great idea! I really like the connection you are making to that fact that math is all around and that we use it everyday. This activity will break up the how-well-do-you-know-your-math-facts routine at the beginning of the year. I'm stealing it and making some small adjustments for 5th grade :)

5. Love this idea! Thank you for sharing!

6. This comment has been removed by the author.

7. How many students did you have? I have 120+ students.

1. I have done it with anywhere between 70-95 students!

8. How much time do the students have to do research? Do they work on it in class or home or both?

9. This idea is great! I'd love to try it out this year with my 7th graders. What sort of topics do your students come up with in class? Do you have back-up topics in case they have a hard time coming up with ideas? Can multiple students work on the same topic?

1. I teach in a rural district in Wisconsin. I have a lot of students do various sports, hunting, cooking, music, etc. It is so fun to see some of the more creative tiles. There is always a new one every year that I hadn't thought of! I do allow them to do the same topics.

10. do you use a rubric with this? if so, could you post it.

1. No, I don't use a rubric for this activity. We use Grading for Learning in my district, so homework isn't a part of their grade (only marked as complete or missing). Their grade consists of daily checks, quizzes, and tests.

For this activity, I just mark it as completed or missing. They are usually pretty motivated to do it at the start of the year, so I don't have too many issues with students not wanting to complete it! :)

11. Do you have a list made up of examples of math in the real world that the students can choose from?

12. I usually have students brainstorm activities or careers that use math as a class. I record them on the board (and am sure to included some of the big ones... cooking, sports, shopping, etc). This gives students a list to fall back on if they can't think of their own!

13. I really like this idea as a beginning of the year or middle of the year motivation activity. The students generally start to ask at this age "When will I use this?!" and this activity will be a nice way to answer the question but have them work through their thinking. I really like the board idea because you can reference it through-out the year as well! When you brainstorm with the students do you start by giving your example first and then have them work off of it or do you have them brainstorm without your support then show them your example? Do you think that this would work with your 8th grade students as well as your 6th grade students?

14. Hi,

This sounds just like I wanted to do with my class. Is there a document that explains the project to parents and students that you would be willing to share? Thank you.

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16. May I use your images to show my students?

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18. I love this idea! I plan to start my 6th graders on this at the beginning of the next school year.

19. Awesome idea! Can't wait to use it this next school year.

20. Do you have any pictures of your Math Is Everywhere tiles? I wanted to share a few samples if I do this project. Thanks!

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