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Math Trails: Taking Math Out of the Classroom & Into the Streets! March 5, 2018

Cambrian Park, Santa Clara County
Math Trails: Taking Math Out of the Classroom & Into the Streets!, Cambrian Park, California

As students progress through the curriculum, math becomes increasingly abstract, presenting difficulties for many who have trouble understanding its physical applications. To stimulate enthusiasm for math and demonstrate how principles learned in the classroom actually describe the real world, math tutors suggest taking students on a math trail with engaging educational activities centered around fun things to do in your area. Creating a math trail will help students of any age by making the abstract concepts concrete, fostering a genuine engagement in the subject.

What Is a Math Trail?

Essentially, a math trail is a route designed around local sights and attractions, with activities planned for each location. These can be centered around students’ ages and mathematical competency, combining mental challenges with the opportunity to explore and photograph your town or city. For example, math tutors suggest asking students to plot the shortest distance between a favorite restaurant and a natural history museum and then based on a fast walk of 4 mph, how long would it take to walk? Or find all the circles and polygons with more than 4 sides in a particular spot.

Creating Your Own Math Trail

Because the applications of mathematics are so far-reaching, almost any location provides the opportunity to test a student’s skills. To begin, make a list of fun activities in your area, such as museums, parks, or tourist attractions, then imagine ways these locations can be visited, photographed, then reinterpreted as math problems. The more creative your challenges, the more engaging your students will find the math trail. For instance, you may ask them to estimate the volume of an elevator at your local shopping mall or even the mall itself! With some creativity, any location presents endless possibilities for using geometry, algebra and trigonometry in math trail activities.

At Study Wizards Tutoring, we believe any student can succeed with the right support and attention from a trained educator. Our math tutors have helped countless students throughout the San Jose area develop better study habits and progress in their math studies. Visit our website to learn more about our tutoring services and call (408) 883-8660 to speak to our Academic Director about your student’s needs and goals.