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More than a Worksheet: The Street Map Project


Everything is related to math, it just depends on the “angle” you look at things- LOL! See what I did there :). Angles are really everywhere, lines too. What better way to investigate these topics than by using your own neighborhood!

In the street map project, students apply their knowledge of special lines and angles to the street map of the neighborhood in which they live. Once the map has been developed, students identify, define, and label key math concepts. Then finally, the students design a creative way to display their map unrelated to a street or neighborhood. It has been so wonderful to see the amazing ways the students have re-imagined their map into something completely different. Click here to get the rubric for this project!

The best thing about this project is that you begin to see math terms everywhere! For example, let’s take a look at a normal Saturday:

You take a trip to the mall, and you want to get from H&M to Build A Bear, how will you find the way? You’ll go to the directory…which is just a BIG MAP! While you plan your route, you’ll have to calculate the angles: Will you walk parallel to the H&M window display, turn 90 degrees at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, and walk perpendicular to the store? Or will you have to make a total 180 degree turn and head back from where you came? Your plan of action relies on math concepts of different lines and angles.

But you aren’t always at the mall. Where else can you find angles? Well, when you come home from the mall, you’ll want to hang the new strand of lights you got at Urban Outfitters above your bed. It’s going to look so cute! You get the ladder from the garage. Here’s the thing: when the ladder rests against the wall, you’ve inadvertently made an angle. Not only that, but you have to calculate what degree is the most stable for you to climb the ladder and hang your lights. Hint: Acute angles are your friend here.

It’s been a great day. First the mall, then your new bedroom décor, and now you’re headed to the Yoga Studio to get your sweat on. From Warrior Pose to Child’s Pose, you’re using angles to get the best lines and stretches from your body. Your guru knows the difference between an acute and obtuse angle, and that’s why she comes over to help you reposition during Downward Facing Dog. Just don’t fall asleep when you utilize a straight angle during Corpse Pose. After your Yoga sesh, you indulge in a smoothie bowl with your bestie. You both notice the parallel lines of kiwis, coconut flakes, and chia seeds running over the top of your bowl.

Thinking about the world in terms of math concepts might seem daunting at first, but once you realize that the concepts are practical, it becomes a piece of cake (which, incidentally, is an acute angle). For instance, building and studying a map helps you master the concepts of lines and angles. The project has students explore vertical angles, adjacent angles, linear pairs, and the special eight angles formed from a transversal hitting across parallel lines. Learning in this real world way helps the material become real. The kids learn that math is “More than a Worksheet” and more than something only done in a classroom. Plus, you’ll always remember these concepts because it’s easier to remember that one time you pulled a muscle in Yoga class (from the improper use of angles) than a nondescript worksheet.

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