Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Hands-On Math Projects With Real-Life Applications: Grades 6-12
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There are a large number of math projects here that are mildly interesting, if a little juvenile for most high school teachers to use. Some of them are very complicated, and others are just not complicated enough, but that's all fine by me - a little variety is certainly good. Most of them will require access to the school library or computer lab, and many will take a good 3-5 days in-class to take to completion as written.

Two problems: One is that the book is organized terribly, and the other is that this book doesn't teach a whole lot of math SKILLS.

The book is organized by what it ties into the general math curriculum. So instead of having "algebra" activities, it offers "Math and Language" or "Math and Social Sciences". This makes it very difficult to find specific activities that you can tie into more general lessons topics like proportions, solving equations or graphing.

And speaking of math topics, we get to mention the other major problem I have with the book: so many of these activities do not mesh with the curriculum that is taught in a traditional math class. Regardless of your opinions on what that curriculum should be, I find it difficult for people to argue that we need four to five three-day research projects on the history of famous mathematicians in a geometry classroom. There are a number of others that simply ask students to make decisions on what to spend a budget on, and a whole lot that involve you creating a "profile" of a person or country, which often touch on mathematics, but do not delve particularly deeply into any particular concept. There are some, such as the landmarks project that discuss ideas like proportionality in depth, but I think that too many simply leave these by the wayside in favor of implementing cultural or social aspects.

The book is massive, and by no means have I looked through or tried every project, but I have taken a number of ideas from this book and reworked them to my needs (adding reflection questions to the worksheets, more guidance for some students, and making a few activities more rigorous). The flower bed project (#6) was something that I had a lot of success with in a geometry class, and the aquarium project (#8 I think) was fun, but had to be modified significantly to make it any kind of challenge for my high schoolers.

Unfortunately, unless you spend a large amount of time sifting, organizing and recreating much of the book, you won't find this to be an instantaneous resource. I think that almost every math teacher could find something to like from this book, but if you're not willing to put in the time to use this resource, it could just be something that sits on your shelf. Far from the worst book I've read on the subject, but it definitely needs some work.
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on April 5, 2009
This is a must-have resource for all home school families! The book includes 60 lesson plans that reinforce math concepts and make learning math interesting and fun. Most important, it gives students a reason for learning math!

The lessons easily integrate into other class work including science, social studies, language arts, music, art, sports, recreation, and life skills. It's perfect for those who enjoy doing unit studies!

It was written for students in grades 6-12; however, it can be adapted to younger grades depending on interests and abilities.

How I would use it in a home school setting:

Home school parents can skim through most of the introductory materials that addresses classroom strategies. However, be sure to read over pages 24-42, which includes directions for writing in the math class, an outline of the basic writing process, ideas for using the Internet in math class, and assessment guidelines and forms.

Although each lesson discusses group activities and oral presentations, it's very easy to adapt these lessons to a home school setting. The projects can easily be done individually and written reports are sufficient. If you choose to have your child do an oral presentation, he or she can perform for family members and friends or in a support group or co-op setting.

I would recommend using the lessons in this book, as needed, as part of a unit study; on a once-a-month or once-a-week basis instead of a regular math and composition class; or as needed to work on a particular math concept.

Some of the lesson plans included are:

1. Math and Science: What is the Weather?, Designing a Flower Bed
2. Math and Social Studies: A Great Mathematician, Creating a Scale Map
3. Math and Language: Fictional Numbers-Writing a Story, Rating Math Web Sites
4. Math and Art: I Wanna Be Like Escher, Designing a Quilt Pattern
5. Math and Music: Numbers and Songs, The Math in Music
6. Math and Sports: Choosing a Membership Plan at a Health Club, Comparing Sports Superstar
7. Math and Recreation: Going on Vacation
8. Math and Life Skills: Making a Budget, Buying a Car, The Costs of Pets

Sample lesson: The Geometry and Art of Architecture

Students are directed to do research at the library and online to find examples of interesting architecture. A suggested list of buildings is included or you might select a structure that is related to a topic you are studying, such as a castle for medieval history or the Eiffel Tower for the country of France.

Students are to examine their structures for examples of geometry such as angles, polygons, three-dimensional shapes, symmetry, and parallel or perpendicular lines. They are to draw the structure on poster paper and then label the geometric forms. Finally, they are instructed to write a report about the selected structure, which includes background information on the building as well as a summary of the geometry it represents.

Sample lesson: The Benefits of Recycling

In this lesson, students are instructed to research the benefits recycling offers to people, companies and the environment. After they gather the information, they must analyze it and draw conclusions about the benefits of recycling based on facts. They are to explain their conclusions in a written summary and illustrate with graphs, charts, tables or posters. They must also include a list of resources used in bibliographical format. After the lesson, a visit to a recycling center is suggested. It would also be a good time to start your own recycling projects, such as recycling glass or paper.

Hands-On Math Projects is well worth the investment in time and money. It will stimulate your child's interest in math, as well as reinforce logic and writing skills.

This review is based on the 2nd edition for grades 6-12.
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on August 7, 2013
This book is chalk loaded with exactly what I was looking for; projects for math that are interesting, challenging, informative, and just plain educational. I work with students with learning disabilities and will be teaching another self-contained math course this year with two students only. That puts a lot of pressure on me to always have a very good, very interesting project for my students (high schoolers) to engage in and from which they can really learn something. I can also use these projects to engage the students in the computer class that I'm also teaching them, designing tables and databases that will be a team effort as well as individual efforts in Excel, using data from the math projects. It's a great book and it's going to make my life a whole lot simpler. I definitely recommend it. Some material may have to be modified to suit my students' needs and abilities, but that's a simple matter, really. I definitely recommend it for those who want to give quality projects to their students that are not just "busy work". BTW, I've been in this field for over 40 years and am always looking for new strategies and help to keep current and to stay with the technology that is available.
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on September 12, 2012
This book was well worth the cost; although, I did not agree with using every project - I do plan on using over half of them in my 7th grade math lessons this year. I have no regrets spending the money on this book.
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on December 29, 2013
currently an elementary school teacher, I bought this book because I have a strong desire to become an math teacher. The book is great for the junior high- high school level students. I was flipping through it and saw great project ideas that can really help students see how math is connected to the real world and the projects are fun. It also talks about how to manage groups in your class if your classroom management skills are not your strength. It thought this was valuable since just about all the projects involve a team. For the book to be useful the teacher needs to implement structure adequately. Math teachers aren't very respected by their student unfortunately but I have a feeling that this book can help change that if implemented correctly!
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on September 14, 2008
As a high school special ed teacher, I continually hear students ask, "Why do I need to learn this?" Hands-On Math Projects has great, practical, and FUN ideas that show real-life applications to ways math can be used in both regular and special needs classrooms. Book includes lots of great project ideas and printables to go along with them.
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on September 15, 2012
I expected this book to have great math projects for my high school students. There are 60 projects in this book but very little challenging math. There is nothing beyond Algebra 1 and only 11 of the projects address the NCTM standards for Algebra. Examples of projects are things like track the weather for a few days and make a report with data organized and displayed or create a logo with a group of students in your class, create a greeting card for math awareness month or writing checks and balancing a checkbook (this is one of the Algebra ones). I was looking for some projects involving high school math - logs, trig, rational functions, sequences and series...etc. I wanted projects that were interesting, relevant incorporated technology.

This book was a waste of money. If anyone knows a good book for high school math projects or project based learning please let me know!
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on April 29, 2016
I bought this book because I needed project ideas for my class. I have to admit that I have not used any of the projects they listed. It is nice to have for your backup collection when you need something to do with your kids in a pinch. However, I found that several projects needed extensive planning and resources that I was not willing to put money out for. I also found that very few activities aligned with my curriculum. Perhaps if actual standards were used instead of topics, this book would be more usable. For now, it sits on my self waiting for a rainy day when my students require a break.
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on February 21, 2011
As a college math instructor and someone who lives for hands-on math in the classroom (i've been running a website for a few years [...]/) i really wanted more from this book. I wanted topics that were real life and fun but could be applied to various degrees of ability without a great deal of prep work and explaining (some of the projects within this book do offer this and why its worth the purchase). I wold suggest the author rewrite a student-notes sections and offer it for free through their website. This way, the educator may prepare 10 mins of explanation without worrying about creating a follow-along sheet so that the student may follow directions, i would also suggest the author reorganize the book for future additions.
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on August 7, 2015
Great book for group activities that includes discussion questions, 4 station activities with handouts for each activity set, list of basic materials, teacher guide pages, and focus of frameworks. These stations are ready to use without many changes needed. Some activities are more practice, while others are inquiry based.
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