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A good way to make math more real to students (a little advanced, but could easily be modified for middle school and definitely a great way to introduce spreadsheets).

http://www.omninerd.com/articles/articles.php?aid=41

Jennifer
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A good way to make math more real to students ...

Fwiw, I'm currently working on my MBA. One of my courses is ACTG506, Cost Accounting.
The whole subject is nothing more than glorified pre-algebra story problems which demonstrate different ways of applying costs (both fixed and variable) across various products and processes. If you can figure out the classic One train leaves St Louis at 30 mph..., then you can learn cost accounting, which is indeed a sadly under appreciated real-world application.

http://vig.prenhall.com/catalog/academic/product/0,1144,0131495380,00.html
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The whole subject is nothing more than glorified pre-algebra story....If you can figure out the classic One train leaves St Louis at 30 mph..., then you can learn cost accounting....which is indeed a sadly under appreciated real-world application.

Yeah, that is my point. Who cares about one train leaving wherever. This is a REAL life application of pre-algebra/algebra. REAL LIFE applications of algebra tend to get students (especially those who are/will be driving soon) interested.

Many, many students ask, "Why does this matter? Can I use this in real life?"

If you try to answer in terms of trains, they don't care. If you show them a real-life application (i.e. such as buying a car and affording the gas/diesel to put into said car) it makes more sense and they have more desire in learning the math behind the situation.

Jennifer
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