Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Where's the Math?

Sharla Shults
Bay District Schools


The math connection unfolds! Students develop an original math problem with detailed solution key relative to the chosen career fields. Watch creativity soar!


The student refines vocabulary for interpersonal, academic, and workplace situations, including figurative, idiomatic, and technical meanings.

The student locates, gathers, analyzes, and evaluates written information for a variety of purposes, including research projects, real-world tasks, and self-improvement.

The student drafts and revises writing that: is focused, purposeful, and reflects insight into the writing situation; has an organizational pattern that provides for a logical progression of ideas; has effective use of transitional devices that contribute to a sense of completeness; has support that is substantial, specific, relevant, and concrete; demonstrates a commitment to and involvement with the subject; uses creative writing strategies as appropriate to the purpose of the paper; demonstrates a mature command of language with precision of expression; has varied sentence structure; and has few, if any, convention errors in mechanics, usage, punctuation, and spelling.

Understands the relative size of integers, rational numbers, irrational numbers, real numbers and complex numbers.

Understands concrete and symbolic representations of real and complex numbers in real-world situations.


-Computers with Microsoft Word and Internet access – one per student
-Copies of documents found in the associated file prepared for class discussion and formative assessment (See Teacher Preparation.)
-Red marking pens
-Student disks (as used in Day 4, lesson To Whom it May Concern)


1. Have folders ready for distribution at the beginning of class.

2. Set up computers or sign up for computer lab.

3. Download, print, and make transparencies of Occupation Matches to be used in class discussion found in the associated file.

4. Set up overhead projector for class discussion.

5. Download and duplicate copies of the following documents found in the associated file:
a) Portfolio Requirements Handout - one per student
b) Checklist for Original Math Problem Peer Review – one per student
c) Original Math Problem Rubric – for Teacher Use – one per student

6. Be sure that student discs are still located in student folders as was detailed in the lesson To Whom It May Concern.


Day 10 of the unit The Math Connection

NOTE UNIT PLAN: Letters should be arriving during this week. Since the letters will be coming in to the school, don’t forget to make a teacher’s copy to keep in a separate folder. This is a backup in the event students’ folders or materials are misplaced. Also, keep a checklist as the letters arrive. Distribute copies of the Rough Draft Comments Sheets to students to complete as they receive their letters. This document is found in the associated file of the lesson To Whom It May Concern to be duplicated as needed. Instruct students to write thank you notes to the contact persons for taking the time to answer the letters and make copies for the portfolio.

1. With student assistance, distribute student folders at the beginning of the class period.

2. Return the All for a Walk on the Moon Problem Solving practice sheets with feedback on weak areas to add to the folders. Especially note to students any areas of weakness with decimals, exponents, or representation of scientific notation. Tell students to be mindful of any additional practice sheets attached. Remind students to place the problem-solving practice sheets in their folders and take home the attached sheets for extra practice.

3. If any reply letters have arrived, be sure to give to students along with the Comments Sheet. Instruct students to complete the comments and place in their folders.

4. Distribute the Portfolio Requirements Handout. (See Associated File.) This will become the first page of the portfolio. Work with students to organize folder documents into portfolios for quick and easy access. Discard any unnecessary or extraneous documents. Tell students to organize portfolio information #3 - #14 in the order as listed below. Items #1 and #2 will be added tomorrow. This will give students time to locate and add any missing items prior to the final evaluation.
1) Final Report
2) Original Math Problem
3) Ten Commandments of Math
4) Internet Research
5) Thank You Note (if applicable)
6) Reply Letter (if received)
7) Original Letter
8) The Eight Essential Steps to a Business Letter
9) Rough Drafts and Revisions
10) Student Daily Logs
11) General Approach to Problem Solving
12) Where’s the Math Scavenger Hunt on the Web
13) Math Activity Sheets
14) Math Problem Solving Practice Sheets

5. Inform students that the folders are an intricate part of the project and are the source of information for the Project Evaluation Scavenger Hunt summative assessment on the last day.

6. Present the following outline of daily activities for the remainder of the project (today through the last two days):
a) Day 10: Complete rough drafts of original math problems and print copies
Peer review for clarity, solvability, and editing errors
Revise and make corrections
Insert graphics (Optional)
Save on disk!
Print copies for Formative Assessment
b) Day 11: Add finishing touches to original math problems
Use the reply letters, completed Comments Sheets, and Internet research to write the final reports. Refer to Guidelines for Final Report.*
Place final reports and revised math problems in the portfolio
c) Day 12: Project Evaluation Scavenger Hunt through the Portfolio
Evaluation with portfolios due at the end of the class period

*Students who have not received a reply to their letters will use the Guidelines for Report of Findings – No Reply Letters.

7. Take a few minutes to review and discuss the problem-solving activities of the past four days and the connection to the world of work. Ask for students’ ideas of what occupations connect to the different types of problems.

8. Display the transparencies of Occupation Matches found in the associated file to demonstrate occupations that match some of the problems encountered involving fractions, decimals, percents, and scientific notation. Include discussion of the use of integers in all of these areas.

9. Instruct students to take out the hand-written rough drafts of their original math problems completed for homework the previous night. Students produce final Word documents on the computer of the math problems complete with solution keys. Print one copy each for editing purposes.

10. Tell students the next step is to peer review the original math problems. Give each student a red marking pen. Distribute the Checklist for Original Math Problem Peer Review sheets to students. (See Associated File.) Go over the checklist with students to insure understanding of the expectations. Students must realize this is a task not to be taken lightly.

11. Instruct each student to trade papers with one of their classmates and check for the following using the checklist:
a) Is the problem easily read and understood? Does it make sense?
b) Is the problem relevant to the choice of occupation?
c) Is the problem solvable?
d) Is the solution key organized and does it allow for a thorough explanation of the problem?
e) Is the answer correct? (Students actually work each other’s problems to check the answers.)
f) Are there any spelling errors? Punctuation errors? Capitalization errors? Grammatical errors?

12. Tell students to return papers to the owners when they have finished reviewing and return the red marking pens to the teacher.

13. Instruct students to make the necessary corrections to the problems and save to disk!

14. Allow students who finish early the option of choosing and inserting appropriate graphics that depict the choice of occupations. Once this is complete, students save to disks, and print copies.

15. Be sure to remind students to SAVE all corrections and changes to the disks! Do not save on the desktops!

16. Inform students the next day is devoted to finalizing the report of findings and making the final revisions to the original math problem. For homework, tell students to begin thinking about the final reports and write the rough drafts.

17. NOTE TO GIVE TO STUDENTS: Concentrate on putting personal thoughts into the report as much as possible. This is not a report to be strictly textbook. Reports should address the occupation chosen and why it was chosen. Include where and how mathematics is used on the job. Expound on both positive and negative feelings about mathematics and the effect it has on the choice of occupation. If the reply has not been received, use comments sheet as a rough draft of information to include in the report.

18. The last two days of the project are for Summative Assessments #2 – Final Report with Original Math Problem, and Summative Assessment #3 – Project Evaluation Scavenger Hunt. See Unit Plan for instructions on implementing these assessments.

19. Collect students’ portfolios at the end of the class period to use the last day as the source of information for the Project Evaluation Scavenger Hunt. See rubrics in Unit Plan Assessment File to summatively assess the Original Math Problem and Final Report.


Students draft original math problems relative to the chosen career fields.

Students use the Student Checklist for Original Math Problem Peer Review (see Associated File) to edit and check for writing that is focused, purposeful, and reflects insight into the writing situation.

Students revise math problems and turn in final documents to the teacher for formative assessment of content and accuracy using the rubric found in the associated file.

Students analyze and evaluate the information from the text within the real-world math problems presented for solving. Students demonstrate understanding by correctly solving the problems. Math skills assessed depend on the mathematical skills required for the career field chosen.

Vocabulary is embedded throughout the unit plan allowing students to refine vocabulary for interpersonal, academic and workplace situations.

Standards addressed will be modeled and formatively assessed throughout the unit and will be summatively assessed at the completion of the unit.


This is Lesson 10 of 10 in the unit The Math Connection addressing [When Are We Ever Going to USE This MATH?]

The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Associated Files.” This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

Web Links

When Are We Ever Going to USE This Math?
The Math Connection

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