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Volume II: Math Media

What's in a Job? It's not Just the Money, It's the Math!
Vivienne Bartman
Pittsburgh Vann K-5

Many children today do not understand the necessity of getting an education. Many children struggle with math and feel they don't really need math to survive. The students need to understand how important their math education is to their future. If a child understands why they need to learn math they will become more active learners. Many children believe that there are great jobs out there that do not use math at all. My unit will show them that all jobs need some sort of math. Through research, inactive and hands-on lessons this unit will bring careers into the classroom. The children will explore several careers in the media that at first may be considered jobs with no math involved. The children will soon learn that math is everywhere. The unit is written for a third grade class but can be adapted very easily to any grade level.

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Effectively Incorporating Popular Media Into A Mathematics Curriculum
Roseann Y. Casciato
Pittsburgh Allderdice High School

In the seminar Media-Math, I was given the opportunity to explore mathematics through the popular media. We looked at mathematics concepts that were evident in cartoons, newspapers, television shows, movies, and the internet. Do you think you would be interested in this curriculum unit dealing with mathematics as seen through popular culture? Would you like to expose your students to the mathematics that is around them? Can the media be used to help engage our students mathematically? I am hoping the answer to all of these questions is yes and I believe you will enjoy using some of these lessons in your classroom. I attempted to ensure that the lessons in this curriculum unit could be used at any time in any course to make connections between mathematics and the real world. I cannot stress the importance of this connection and believe that once students are exposed to this unit, they will be able to make mathematical connections in their everyday lives.

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Music Math
Marylloyd Claytor
Pittsburgh Linden

The Music Math concept is to present linkages between math and music that may be taken for granted or is often not emphasized. The concept brings real world linkages between music and math. These linkages are in the organization of music and the business aspects of music which have emerged in our capitalist economic tradition.

This concept is developed for elementary intermediate students in third, fourth, and fifth grades. It should be introduced to the third grade level and used as a springboard to extend to more sophisticated development through the middle and high school grades.

Students may consider how chords, scales, and twentieth century music can be organized. The twentieth century composer concepts of atonal music, manipulating the tone row, and serial music are concepts our students can utilize math to manipulate musical sound thus creating original music. The concepts of atonal music's tone row and serial music can lead to study of improvisational concepts using mathematical probability to create musical composition improvisational events. The student can approach the staff as a graph and see sound on paper in a graphic form. They can see their favorite song as a graph. The movement of sound and understanding of the pictorial graphic presentation of notated music notation uses math to offer a different way of looking at sound that we hear. Students are also offered opportunity to see the importance of math as the driving influence in the business aspect of modern music.

The goal of this curriculum research is to bring concepts of math and music together and facilitate fluidity between the disciplines.

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Write on Math Media
Ellen Connelly
Pittsburgh Mifflin PreK-8

This curriculum unit is designed for middle school students and is specifically targeted for those in seventh grade Read 180 Communications. By exploring Read 180 workshops and combining mathematical concepts with those lessons, the unit will offer students a perspective and approach to learning math that is more dynamic than those of traditional teaching methods. Relationships between reading, math and media are examined and activities are provided to stimulate students to think about math in new and creative ways.

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Cartoon Calculus
Lesley Britton Eygabroad
Pittsburgh Allderdice High School

Meeting our students where they are is one of the biggest challenges that teachers face in education. Our students are bombarded with media. Though we cannot begin to compete with the world outside of the classroom, it is often helpful to incorporate media into the classroom when possible. Incorporating materials like newspapers, magazines, cartoons, video, and other media can both spark interest and lead to an education outside of the core curriculum provided in a standard K-12 curriculum. The materials in this document will allow you to provide an opportunity for students to learn how math is seen in the media. This document contains objectives, guidelines for lectures and discussions, and materials needed to guide high school students through a project that is both creative and mathematical. For this project, students will take a comic strip that involves a mathematical concept and adapt it in some way to make the mathematical concepts involved more in depth and higher level. Though written specifically for an AP Calculus course, this unit can be easily adapted for any math course. The number of available cartoons involving math is enormous and the unit can be easily changed to focus on any math topic from number sense and fractions to advanced calculus and computer programming.

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Math in the Movies: Motivating Students with the Silver Screen
Jane H. Fraser
Pittsburgh Classical Academy

Movies have captured our imaginations since that first flickering black and white image back in the late 1800s. Movies take us away from our everyday lives and offer us glimpses of places and people that we will probably never experience first-hand. They open our eyes to new ideas and possibilities, and somehow turn something that could be meaningless and mundane into something interesting and exciting.

Math can be found in countless movies, from the 1941 Abbott and Costello classic In the Navy to the 2009 hit Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. The lists of movies with some sort of math in them are endless. Sometimes the math is superficial and fleeting, and often it is just plain wrong, but there are many movies that are rich in mathematical content and inspiration.

My goal for this unit is to use selected movie clips to motivate my students to look at math in a new way. By using these particular scenes, I hope to increase their interest in math and encourage them to open their minds to new uses for the math they're learning.

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Snapshots: Our developing world viewed through an algebraic lens
Kathleen M. Froncek
Pittsburgh Allderdice High School

This curriculum extension encourages Algebra 1 students to think about the rapidly changing world by discussing and analyzing world population trends and evaluating the growth function of today's most visited website - Facebook. Students are encouraged to discuss the social, economic, geographic, and cultural influences that have made Facebook the most active website today. This curriculum extension encourages students to focus both locally and globally, using numerous forms of electronic media.

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Media Math Month by Month
Kristen LoAlbo
Pittsburgh Gifted Center

Media Math Month-by Month is a mathematics unit based on popular media. Each month, students will explore media that includes math concepts from the five PSSA reporting categories through the use of ten different media. The media included are: comic strips, fiction- based television shows, televised sports, magazines, animated cartoons, commercials, newspaper, music, literature and movies.

This unit has been designed for 3rd and 4th grade students in the Math department in The Pittsburgh Public Schools gifted education program, but it can easily be adapted for upper grade levels. The students in this program have advanced problem solving skills and demonstrate mastery of many on-grade level core math concepts.

The students come to the center once a week. Each class lasts for two hours a week. They will participate in the course for an entire 32 week school year. Though it may be unrealistic for a mainstream teacher to utilize this unit in its entirety, the unit has been written so that groups of lessons maybe used as stand alone enrichment activities.

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When in Rome…Exploring Applications of Popular Media in Algebra
A. Holly Neely
Pittsburgh Allderdice

I often hear the statement from my students: "I don't know why I have to learn this; I am never going to use it in my life." This statement frequently causes me to ponder different ways to make the math I am teaching relevant to my students. The statement "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" is a great analogy for how to include students' culture in the learning process. Since they are ensconced in a technology driven lifestyle, it only makes sense to include technology and media in the classroom.

This curriculum unit is a statistics unit for my Algebra 2 students. It deals with statistics about women as consumers. Students will use various media to collect data, do statistical calculations, describe patterns and discuss the results. They will engage in various discussions of relevant, real life topics. This unit will provide the students with an opportunity to have the statistics they learn to make an impact beyond the next quiz or exam. They will be thinking about and remembering the projects they create while working on this unit for a long time.

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Night at the Pi Park
Amanda Neidig
Pittsburgh Mifflin Pre K-8

This unit's purpose is to fuse the uses of media and the Pittsburgh Public School's core curriculum for sixth grade in Mathematics. The specific topic of pi is the main focus of the unit. It consists of nine activities that can coincide with the unit project for the Covering and Surrounding book. The activities can be taught during the mathematics class or shared among content-specific teachers. The activities are cross-curricular as it teaches students about pi. All the activities will come together at the end of the Covering and Surrounding book as the students complete the unit project of creating a park. The students have to incorporate a few activities into the park that they design with polygons and circles. Their goal is to experience pi with as many tools from the media as possible.

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Math Students Can Relate To
Alice Rysdon
Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12

The aim of this unit is to integrate different forms of media into the seventh grade Pittsburgh Public School mathematics core curriculum. My goal is to include different ways that students may encounter math in their lives. As they begin higher-level math concepts, students at times find math more difficult. This unit will provide additional lessons that can be added to the seventh grade curriculum to enhance the students' understanding of key concepts while introducing topics in light-hearted ways. By using current media I hope to gain the students' attention and directly connect some of our math concepts to their world. These lessons will add to the 7th grade mathematics curriculum by making lessons that will capture student interest and make math more relevant to each student's life.

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The Sunday Paper
Rosemary G. Schmitt
Pittsburgh South Brook

Students have a hard time associating math with the rest of their lives. They think that math only belongs in the classroom. With all the academics we focus on in school today, we leave little or no time at all for our students to apply this math throughout their school day. More time is devoted to the teaching of math and less time to the application of math.

Through the use of the Sunday paper, students will be able to apply math to everyday living. They will problem solve in order to function in today's financial world. They will have an opportunity to provide for themselves and a family by first choosing an occupation and then when providing for their family, realizing that their is a difference between what they must have, what they would like to have, all within their means.

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Visual Math: An Applicable Approach to Art and Math Connections
Victoria Scoumis
Pittsburgh Oliver High School

The purpose of this unit is to illustrate the many ways math is used to produce art. We measure space with a ruler and we draw and shade geometric solids. But that's not all! We use percentages of light and dark to shade those objects as well as decrease the intensity of a color by adding white or black. We use ratios of color to mix with the color opposite on the color wheel. We divide this circle into twelve sections to equally fit the color spectrum. An art class is where we use math in real life applications. The unit bridges analytical thinking with conceptual creativity. This curriculum is where the Standards of Mathematics meets The Visual Arts Standards.

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Let Statistics Help Show You the Money
Paula Shaffer-Roche
Pittsburgh Allderdice High School

This unit integrates mathematics and media. One of the main goals of the unit is to inspire students to seek out mathematics in the everyday world around them. By connecting mathematics to media, the educator has put a purpose on learning for students. The students will explore films, television series, comic strips, newspapers, and magazines. Students, whom may struggle with math, will most likely enjoy seeing how what they learn within the classroom plays out in the real-world. The unit maintains a focus on specially exploring statistics and media. I would also like my paper to cover the strategies/lessons that are going to facilitate students' statistical understanding. Many studies indicate that one of the best ways for promoting student learning is to give them opportunities to develop ownership in the process of education. Hence I would like to provide educators with lessons that encourage students to create their own areas of investigation. They will write papers, use software to analyze data, and communicate their findings and predictions for the outlook of tomorrow. I expect the unit to be covered within a two week span. However, I feel educators can shorten or lengthen this time span in order to meet time constraints placed on by their own district. I am hoping that this unit inspires educators to bring the world our students live in, into the classroom.

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Chatham University
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Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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