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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Math in the Ferris Wheel

Today I am linking up with 

A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by

I see math wherever I go and I like when my students experience the same thing.  I want them to see math all around them.  Now that I have finally found a smart phone with good coverage and a decent camera, my students will be seeing more and more pictures that I snap of math in my life.  I am hoping this will lead to them seeing more math in their world and maybe even taking a picture of it to show me!

Several weeks ago, I was at the fair as it started to get dark.  The lights on the Ferris Wheel were on and it got me thinking about all kinds of math ideas.  I shared this photo with some sixth graders and asked them, "Where is the math?"  

Here are some of the responses I got
- How many cars are on it?
- How many people can ride it at one time?
- How long do you get to ride on it?
- I see a lot of acute angles.
- You an see that sixth-twelfths is equal to one half by looking at it. 
- How many lights are on it?  You can count how many on one arm and multiply.
- How much does it cost to ride it?
- How much (money) will the owner make during the fair?

This was a quick 3 minute exercise and it really helped get kids thinking about math at the fair!  What do you think your students will say if you ask them to see the math in this picture?


  1. I love the idea of snapping some pictures and asking my students to find the math in them. Can't wait to try this.
    The Research Based Classroom

    1. I have gone a bit crazy with this idea! I really like the camera on my new phone!

  2. What a great idea, Tara! I think younger students might focus on naming the shapes they see and counting the number of parts in the circle (hmmm... that could lead to a basic lesson on naming fractions!).

    1. Great idea! I should show this picture to primary kids and to third or fourth graders and see how the math they find changes.

  3. I like the idea of showing them a picture and finding the math. I tell my kids that math is everywhere. Your picture idea is a great extension of that.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. I have had dreams of doing things like this for years but now I have the technology in my pocket to do it!

  4. Great post, Tara! Snapping pics on a fairly regular basis is also a great way to share experiences with students!! Thanks so much for linking up!!

    Jamie aka MissMathDork!

  5. This is an amazing idea to show kids that math is literally everywhere! How many photos does the average person snap in a day now between Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat? We could easily use many of those photos with our student. This would be a great way to start every week off. Show a photo on Monday, and throughout the week, students could formulate math questions about the photo. I love this. You could even allow students to supply photos as well.

    1. I love doing this with kids! I share many photos now that I literally carry a camera around with me. I also have students who take pictures of things or have their parents take pictures and email them to me.

  6. This blog post was featured in the 82nd Math Teachers at Play blog carnival. Thanks for writing a great post that teachers and homeschool parents can benefit from! I hope this sends some extra blog traffic your way :)

    If you'd like to see it, you can do so here: