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Using Math to Teach English Armen Hovhannes City College of San Francisco ahovhann ccsf edu 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 worksheet Here is an example They make a Pie Chart of their expenses This is an example of the same student s expense chart Macroeconomics Budgeting for the larger community How would you spend 100 billion 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 Tax Status 1 Hourly Rate 10 00 Overtime Rate Social Security Tax 32 13 Medicare Tax Jay Adams Employee ID 1 Hours Worked 35 15 00 Sick Hours 1 Federal Income Tax 127 50 Vacation Hours 0 7 40 State Tax 11 73 Overtime Hours 10 Insurance Deduction 40 00 Union Dues 20 00 Gross Pay 510 00 Total Taxes and Regular Deductions 238 76 Total Taxes and Deductions 238 76 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 whquestions 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 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 in dex 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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