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7 Professions Which Use Math Everyday



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Perhaps the following scenario rings a bell: you have just spent the past 25 minutes going over with your class the finer points of the distributive property, and you ask the class if there are any questions. A student raises her hand, stares you down and asks, “Am I ever going to need this in my life or anything?”

This may not have happened to you personally, but it has happened to countless other teachers (and parents during homework). Students are so focused on the end result of their education that they fail to see how vital each part of it truly is. And with math, which is a structure which builds on itself, they really can be impatient while waiting for the “payoff” of “where is this road going to lead me?”

One way to answer their concern is to assure them that math, indeed, will help them later in life. How? Because math is used in many of the careers they aspire to and are planning to pursue. Hopefully, this notion will pique their interest, but even if they are skeptical, you can go on to provide them with the following examples of professions which rely on math as one of their day-to-day tools to get their jobs done:


  1. Chef/Cook/Baker: People who prepare food use a lot of math, actually. When following recipes there are fractions involved, especially when customizing the servings; there is physical measuring of dough and other ingredients; and there is other math used as well.
  2. Mechanic: I’m not even going to try to fake my way around car math. I just know that mechanics need to know mathematical things, like pounds per square inch and torque.
  3. Carpenter/Contractor: Anybody who builds anything uses math. Lots of it. Building things is not done by eye; that geometry that seemed so irrelevant does have a purpose somewhere.
  4. Seamstress/Tailor/Clothing Designer: People who create clothing do not escape math. They are using it when they are working with measurements as well as cloth.
  5. Truck Driver: Truck Drivers need to know weights, heights, and remember those annoying word problems where “Bill left Chicago at 6:00 going 55 miles per hour and had to be in New York by 3:00…”? This is reality for the truck driver. They have to figure out this formula constantly so they can be where they are supposed to be on time.
  6. Farmer: The farmer has to use all the math skills listed above because the farmer does basically a bit of everything. Plus, planning where crops are planted and countless other math applications.
  7. Teachers: Well, of course teachers teach math, but teachers also need math in several other ways. Figuring out grades and averages, even with a calculator, takes math. Multiplying and dividing books, papers, supplies, etc. by number of students, scoring assessments, scheduling, the list goes on.

Hopefully, this list helps you and your students to realize that practically every profession utilizes math in some way or another. Perhaps you are inspired to continue this list with other professions you can imagine using math? It can be a great motivator to know that learning math will matter!

Comment below and add to the list of jobs/Professions that involve math!

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Reviewing Math Skills with “Math Race”

Amazing Math Race

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Before a major test, it’s important for students to review the concepts they’ve been working on for weeks. The work they’ve put into classwork, homework, and quizzes can make many students reluctant to go over things they think they already know. One way to reengage students in the studying process is to introduce a fun math game that will allow them to engage in friendly competition while they study for a test.

Math Race is an ideal math game for an algebra-level class where students can solve for variables, multiply exponents, or use the order of operations quickly. It is a great game for practicing math speed and accuracy.

Teaching the Math Race Game

Required Materials:

  • Slips of paper with the problems written on them. You will need a copy of each problem for the total number of teams have. (If you have 3 teams, you’ll need 3 copies of each problem, etc.)
  • Dry erase board
  • One dry erase marker for each team


1. Split the class evenly into groups of three to seven. Have them create three vertical lines of chairs that all face the front board. Every person sits in their chair facing the board and can all have a pencil. Ideally you have two or three teams. The class should look like this:

Dry Erase Board

2. Each team will take seats in one line of chairs and come up with a name for each team. The student in the back of each line should have a pencil and surface to right on. The student in the front of each line has a dry erase marker. The students in the front are all equal distances from the dry erase board.
3. At the start of the game, the teacher will hand the first problem to the students at the back (farthest away from the dry erase board) and instruct them to wait until your signal to start.
4. When you say start, students with the problems solve them and pass the completed math problems up the line to the front of the room. The paper must be passed from student to student up the line. The last student cannot just run up to the front with the answer.
5. As the paper is being passed, other students have the option of looking at the problem and correcting it if they see anything wrong. Alternatively, if the last person in line doesn’t remember how to solve the problem, they can elect to send the blank problem up to the next person in line to solve, etc.
6. When the paper reaches the front of the room, the student with the dry erase marker will run up to the board and write the final answer. The team that correctly writes the final answer first gets the point.
7. After the score is tallied, all students shift forward one seat. The student with the dry erase marker passes the marker to the next person and then takes the seat in the back to solve the next problem.
8. Scoring is calculated by the number of correct answers each team has. Once an incorrect answer has been written on the board, that team can not change their answer and the slower teams will have a chance to finish this.
9. Remind students to be very quiet or silent (if you’re working with younger students or students who may get rowdy if allowed to talk a lot) so they don’t accidentally give the answer away to neighboring teams.

Why does this help reinforce math concepts?

As was mentioned earlier, adding an element of competition and teamwork may be all students need to reinvigorate them to relearn concepts they’ve spent plenty of time on already. The team aspect of this game lets multiple people take responsibility for and work together on outcomes while still allowing individuals to shine.
This works well with higher-level concepts that need to be done quickly and efficiently on tests, like order of operations, factorization, etc.

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Teaching Probability and Risk with SKUNK



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SKUNK is a classroom classic – it involves risk, reward, and math that teaches concepts like probability and chance. On top of the intrinsic reward of winning, and the excitement of chance, SKUNK is an incredibly low-prep game that requires no more than paper and dice!

Teaching the Game of SKUNK:

Required Materials:

  • Prepared SKUNK cards or worksheets
  • 2 dice per team
  • Students separated into groups (3-4 is an ideal number to make the game interesting, but prevent student boredom when it isn’t their turn)
  • Students will need pencils.


1. The SKUNK worksheet or card can be prepared beforehand or created by students at their seats. Students should hold their paper horizontally and separate it into five columns, each one topped with letters: S,K,U,N,K. Each letter denotes a round of the game.

Example of SKUNK board:



2. Students determine who goes first, second, third, etc. and then take turns rolling the dice. Each student gets one turn during round S, one turn during round K, one round during round U, etc.

3. A student rolls the dice and records the number they get in the column that corresponds to the round. That student can then choose to complete his turn and pass on the dice to the next player OR he can choose to keep rolling and adding more points. A student’s turn continues indefinitely until he chooses to pass the dice on OR:

4. He or she rolls a single 1. When this happens he or she loses all their points for that round (S,K,U,N, or K) and must pass the dice on to the next player


5. He or she rolls 1s on both dice. In that case the player’s turn is ended and he or she loses ALL their points from ALL the rounds played so far.

Depending on the age or math level of the students, they may start by rolling as many times as they can. As the game progresses, they will realize that it’s in their best interest to “quit while they’re ahead” and they’ll focus on maximizing points while minimizing risk.

Teaching the Math Concepts: Probability

You can incorporate a lesson on chance and probability into the game. Teach students the rules and let them play one game. Then, as a class, discuss what they noticed about how the game worked. Was the winning person just lucky? What strategies did they use? Try to lead the class into making the observation that the probability of rolling a single one is about 1 in 6, and the probability of rolling two 1s is less.

Explain the concept of probability: the number of times a desired (or undesired) possibility can happen, over the total number of possibilities. Give flipping a coin as an example. There is 1 possibility of getting heads over 2 total possibilities. But what about flipping heads twice in a row? This is a 1 in 4 possibility. Allow students to come up with their own examples and bring in some real-life scenarios for them to calculate. You could examine the probability of winning the lottery, the probability of being struck by lightening, or the probability of Kevin Bacon being in a movie (just to name a few examples).

After you’ve discussed it, have students calculate the probability of rolling any given combination of numbers. For instance, rolling two 1s will be a 1 in 36 chance. Rolling a high number like two sixes, is equally unlikely. Give students a couple board problems or a worksheet that allows them to develop this skill. Add challenges to these activities if students or more advanced or find ways to break down the concepts and demonstrate the basics for students who are new to the topic.

Once probability has been introduced and students have been asked to calculate it, have them reform their groups and play the game of SKUNK once again. Ask them to notice if their tactics change, what seems to work for them, and what they’re keeping in mind as they play. Ideally, students will play with more caution when they keep the probability in their mind.

Common Core Standards:

This activity and a lesson plan explaining it meets common core standards for Statistics and Probability. This lesson works best for late elementary and middle school students being introduced to the concept, but can be adapted to show the probability of independent events or calculate the probability of multiple events occurring together.

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Response to my “How Homework Should Really Look” Post

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I sent out a email to all my subscribers about how I think math homework should really look, (you can read it here if you missed it). I received a reply from a mother that I had to share with everyone!

Check out what Susan had to say:

I have an 8-year old daughter. We home school, but pulled her out of school part way through second grade, so we are familiar with both realms. Her homework then was at kindergarten and first grade level, and so was her class. She officially stalled and floated along for two years in the public system due to an influx of new residents and the length of time it took to get everyone back on board. When we pulled her, we suddenly found that we were up against state testing and the bar was raised significantly. Our single digit adding and subtracting daughter somehow had to wade through multiple digits and lower level multiplication (plus all the other bits like geometry, measurement, etc.).

I give you this back story because we were suddenly in a position of playing catch up. We bought workbooks. We attended Kumon. We tried 4 different math curricula. She was reluctant to learn new material because nothing was asked of her previously. We fought, we grounded, we cried. All she was interested in was playing on the computer or iPad. A very inspiring friend advised that I stop battling my child and let her interests lead our educational path. I should know this as I taught college for 4 years and had many seminars on "teaching to the learner". Somehow all of that goes out the door with my child. She wasn't going to learn if she didn't want to. She didn't think school was fun, so she tuned it out.

We changed gears and wholeheartedly accepted electronic media into our system of education. They were always there, but apps for education years ago were a bit more dry than those today. We were doing "homework" one night at a table after dinner with friends, and Lilly was playing a math game. One of the other kids exclaimed "This is no fair, she's just playing games!", and though he was correct, games have been the single source of acceptance of practicing math from our daughter. She's entertained. She is not resisting. She's learning. She's finally understanding and lowering the block wall toward math.

We teach teachers how to reach kids at their level. Parents are somehow expected to magically know how to teach, because from the school systems I see in the 3 states we frequently visit, much is expected on the parents. Of home school parents all the more so. The public school parents I have contact with hate homework as much as the kids, because it is tedious. Does it really matter if the kids can do the particular problems sent home with them? No, worksheets are just a practice place and metric for whether the kids are learning. Kids will face far more examples of problems through digital media. For me, it is nice to walk away, round up some food or whatever, and come back and she's still playing/practicing. I made it through an entire (long) shower yesterday and not a bit of fussing from the other room. I should note that when I give her paper assignments (same level of problems, but simply in paper format), I have to sit there with her the entire time. I now reserve paper for real world and word problems. She's starting to be able to handle those on her own too however... The skill required is no different, but the attitude is. By all means, bring on what works. If it's digital media that they will readily engage with, then let it be and let them grow. School systems wouldn't argue reading something to an auditory learner or demonstrating something for the visual learners. Why fight digital engagement? For most games we've reviewed, they reach more learning styles more readily than paper media ever could. Another beauty is lost time shuffling around between daily activities. She has her iPad, and our schedules are busy, so we use a lot of that standard commute and wait time for school practice and work. It's one device and no worry of torn sheets, broken pencil leads, heavy books, etc. I particularly love programs that log and track the practice time. It's proof for her portfolio that she's spending the time learning. It's something that some schools are using to track "homework" on various programs rather than giving out worksheets.

As an aside, we downloaded the 5-dice game quite a while back and stuck it in a "futures" folder. When I find something good she'll grow into, I can save things that way. She wasn't able to handle multiplication at that point. We'll pull it back onto the main screen and explore!

Thank you for what you do,

icon 5 Dice5 Dice: Order of Operations Game is a free app so check it out and share it with all your friends.

Eggscellent Addition



Eggscellent Addition

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Skill addressed: Basic addition facts from 2-12

Supplies needed:

  1. One clean egg carton per student: each egg hole must be labeled with a number 2-12, with a * in the first box
  2. 12 jellybeans per student
  3. One pair of standard dice per pair


  1. Divide the class into pairs.
  2. Each pair will roll a die to see who goes first.
    • The player with the lowest number begins.
  3. For each turn, the player rolls the dice and adds the two numbers together.
  4. The student has to find the section of his or her egg carton with that number and puts a jellybean in it. The * may be used for any number.
    • For example, if a player rolls a 3 + 5, but already has a jellybean in the 8 space, she may put one in the * space.
  5. The next player rolls the dice, and does the same.
  6. Play continues until someone has a jellybean in every section of his or her egg carton.
  7. The first student to get a jellybean in each section wins the round.

You can download the PDF version of this game FREE and file it away for later!


How Homework Should Really Look (If we can’t get rid of it let’s change it!)

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How Homework Should Really Look

(If we can't get rid of it let's change it!)

When I had the 5 dice game to the point of beta testing, my first app that I created. To see how user friendly my new app was, I had to find a somewhat technologically illiterate guinea pig so I asked my father to play the game.

Once he got the hang of how to play the game, I decided to connect another device using Bluetooth/Wifi and performed some one on one testing by having my 8 year old play the game against my dad.

It was, as I watched that I noticed my beta testing was becoming a revelation, for in front of me I saw the future of homework.

In front of my eyes, my son was probably having the most fun he has ever had "practising", I mean "playing" math.

I still do not know if my father was letting my son win or if he was legitimately winning some of those games. But, when my son won a game, everyone in the house knew he had won! At that point I knew that my idea of a game that challenged and excited a child's sense of competition, while at the same time keeping them practising math, would work!

Can you Imagine if all homework was that exciting?!

Now we all know that math can be a very interesting and rewarding field of study or we wouldn't be teachers. But, can you imagine the excitement that I felt from watching that little beta test experiment.


  • What are your thoughts on the "Homework" issue?
  • Do you think playing on an iPad as a legitimate thing to do (replacement) instead of traditional homework?
  • How do you get parents involved in your students learning (homework)?
  • How would you get parents on board to start "playing" with their kids as a legitimate way of practising math?
  • Anyone want to be my next "guinea pig"?

Comment below and let me know what you think.

icon 5 Dice5 Dice: Order of Operations Game is a free app so check it out and share it with all your friends.

TPT Gift Card Giveaway March

GIveaway March

GIveaway MarchIn honour of my favourite number – Pi

I’m having a giveaway :)

ONE lucky winners will be chosen to receive a $25 TpT Gift Certificate to be used to purchase any resources for their classroom (hopefully a math resources) PLUS they will also receive a copy of my Focus On Integer Series Ultimate Package!!

and THREE more teachers/parents will win just my Focus On Integer Series Ultimate Package ($25 Value)

in total there will be 4 winners chosen at random on Pi day (March 14)!

Click Here to Enter (the most current giveaway):


100 Days Of School Activity – 100 Things

100 Things

100 Days Of School Activity

Asher's 100 Things...

100 Things

Measuring a Friend {Measurement Activity}


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Have a student come to the front of the classroom and as a class, predict the length of his or her arms, legs or ears. Group students into groups of three and explain that each students should help to measure others and should measure himself or herself.

Give them a list of things to measure so they can record measurements. Be sure to include the length of the entire body! When finished, have them compare their measurements with others in the class.

They love to discuss this!

You can also download a PDF version of this game to file away for later here on my site or on TeachersPayTeachers.

Focus On Measurement Bundle

Measurement Olympics {Measurement Activity}



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Students will use their measurement skills to determine which student will receive the gold metal. Review with students the best way to measure length, width and height.

Set up stations where students will measure to determine who can jump the farthest, run the fastest (measuring time!), throw the farthest and jump the highest.

Allow students to be in charge of measuring and recording the results and have them record them on a paper you've prepared.
You can also download a PDF version of this game to file away for later here on my site or on TeachersPayTeachers.

Focus On Measurement Bundle

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