Using Math to Teach English Armen. Hovhannes City College of San Francisco firstname.lastname@example.org www.ccsf.edu/shovanes CATESOL April 2006 Rationale Relevance: Math is related to everything in life. The so-called “new new” math, or “whole math”, especially emphasizes this. Math is about problem solving in real- world situations. Economics/Finance – Personal/Family/Business/Macroeconomics Parenting – Assisting kids with homework Brainstorm others here: Rationale (cont.) Many students have strong mathematical intelligence. math intelligence is an untapped resource in the ESL classroom Many adult students have a lot of math schema in their L1 Math is an international language that communicates meaning. Many immigrant students in community college have academic/career goals in fields involving math/science/business. Math is largely missing from most ESL courses/curricula/materials Basic Numbers & Math Go beyond just reciting/repeating the numbers. Spice up your curriculum with some math basics in English Basic math operations vocabulary and expressions Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division How to say “plus”, “minus”, “equals”, etc. How to pose the questions, i.e., “How much is ...?” Percents and fractions Decimals and commas Note that the use of the point as decimal marker varies in different countries. Make sure S’s are clear on the use of the point and the comma in the US. How to say large numbers How to say numbers with decimals Basic Math activity Math Dictation In the classroom, use calculators Or, use Excel in the computer lab. Math Games and other fun stuff for students & parents Games with math and numbers Math Bingos Beat the calculator Number guessing games “I’m thinking of a number...” Web sites – just a couple of examples Figure this At Home with Math Education Place Brain Teasers Personal/Family Finance This is a real favorite with students. I’ve done it in various ways. Here’s one: Introduce concept and terminology of budgeting. Students brainstorm expense categories. (Food, Rent, Transportation, etc.) This is excellent for generating vocabulary. They can use real, estimated, or fantasy (ex. My Dream Budget) figures. They enter their information in a My Expenses worksheet. (Here is an example.) They make a Pie Chart of their Money to my mother Recreation 10% 2% expenses. This is an example of Health 10% Rent the same student’s expense chart. 41% Food 26% Utilities Transportation 3% Debt 2% 6% Macroeconomics Budgeting for the larger community How would you spend $100 billion? Economic Stimulus Plan (in billions of $) Education, $20 Tax Cuts -For low and moderate income, $30 Health care , $20 Unemployment programs, $30 Basic Business Math Inventory Expense log Payroll and taxes What’s the sales tax? Inventory word problem You work in the bookstore. You have to do an inventory of some new books. You count the books and find that you have 85 copies of Side by Side2, 120 copies of Focus on Grammar, and 165 copies of Going Places Book 1. Side by Side costs 21.95 each. Focus on Grammar costs 25.49. Going Places costs 19.35. 1.What is the total cost of all the books? ____________ 2.How many total books are there? _____________ The worksheet might look something like this. Mileage Expense Report Payroll – reading the pay stub plus J&J Construction Period: 2/1/2004 Employee Name Jay Adams Employee ID 1 Tax Status 1 Hours Worked 35 Hourly Rate $10.00 Overtime Rate $15.00 Sick Hours 1 Social Security Tax $32.13 Federal Income Tax $127.50 Vacation Hours 0 Medicare Tax $7.40 State Tax $11.73 Overtime Hours 10 Insurance Deduction $40.00 Union Dues $20.00 Gross Pay $510.00 Total Taxes and Total Taxes and Regular Deductions $238.76 $238.76 Deductions Net Pay $271.25 Statistics Class surveys Just Ask Jeeves Though Jeeves, himself, has retired, you can still use ask.com to find information by writing regular English questions. Students get to practice writing wh-questions. Create a graph in Excel Students compile their data from the Ask.com exercise into a chart. They also do a writing activity, describing the data using comparatives/superlatives. GDP per capita Mexico Peru China El Salvador Armenia Guatemala Honduras Nicaragua $- $1,000 $2,000 $3,000 $4,000 $5,000 $6,000 $7,000 $8,000 $9,000 $10,000 Demographics Infoplease.com/countries Activities with Infoplease Another great stats site www.nationmaster.com These stats are great for guessing games! More Math web links Helping your Children learn Math http://www.ed.gov/pubs/parents/Math /index.html Good examples of math activities common in “whole math” curricula. The Math Forum @ Drexel University http://mathforum.org/ Good resource on everything in math ed for teachers, students, parents, and everyone else. Measurements Area, Distance, Temperature, Speed, others Volumes, weights, size Sports Sports Stats Who’s the most underpaid player in MLB today? (according to some commentator guy I just heard on TV) but then this is just an example of what you can do: You hear this stuff all the time, so the more current, the better. Questions relating to sports salaries are of interest even to the non-sports person.
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