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• Author or Editor: Alessandra King
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## Math for Real: Space and Time

### “when will I ever use this?”

For many years, people have been fascinated with the sun, moon, stars, planets, and other objects in the sky. How do we know what is happening up there? Let's investigate how long it takes light from those objects to reach Earth.

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## Freshwater Scarcity: A Proportional Representation

This month's activity explores the issue of the scarcity of freshwater, a natural resource. Activity sheets are included.

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## Leafing through Irregular Shapes

By the time middle school students start a prealgebra course, they should have explored a variety of familiar two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes and should have been exposed to the concepts of perimeter, area, and volume. They know that they can assign numerical values to some attributes of a shape, such as length and surface area. However, my classroom experience confirms the statement that although “students may have developed an initial understanding of area…, many will need additional experiences in measuring directly to deepen their understanding of the area of two-dimensional shapes” (NCTM 2000, p. 242). In addition, the students' previous practice with area is usually with polygons, circles, or a combination of both. However, many real-life objects cannot be described or approximated with simple geometric shapes or with combinations of shapes. Therefore, this activity, which asks students to estimate the area of irregular shapes using finer and finer grids, is not only novel but also a way to apply mathematics to real life.

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## A Historical Twist on Problems of the Week

A series of Problems of the Week with a historical foundation can provide students with a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts.

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## Ramp It Up

This real-life activity explores ramps and slope measurements, with the goal of being ADA compliant.

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## The American Flag

Students are given an activity in which they analyze the American flag, with an eye to its proportions. Solutions are online.

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## Quick Reads: MathMania: A Middle School Puzzle Book

### a good idea in a small package

Students are called to engage their creativity and problem-solving skills by designing their own puzzles. They share them with their classmates and produce an anthology that will be a keepsake of their mathematical year as well as a memento of their collective accomplishment.

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## Math for Real: The Top Speed for Humans

### “when will I ever use this?”

The running speed of athletes provides the real-life tie-in to this computation activity.

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## MTMS Favorites: “Rough-Draft Talk in Mathematics Classrooms”

Members of the Editorial Panel spotlight articles from the twenty-three-year history of MTMS. In this offering, the takeaway is the importance of getting students to open up about their incomplete mathematical reasoning.

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