Tuesday, October 2, 2012

World Traveler -- International Project

Until everyone uses Paypal, we have no other option
Who doesn't want to take a grand voyage around the world? Take your class on a trip with functions. While the Middle School & High School Math Project is mathematically driven, it gives students the opportunity to learn a little about other countries of the world. 

Name: World Traveler
Suggested Grade Level: 7-12 (Primarily Pre-Algebra & Algebra math skills)
Math Concepts: Creating, Defining & Using Functions, Inverse Functions
Interdisciplinary Connections: Currency Conversion, Travel, Social Studies
Teaching Duration: 2-3 Days 
Cost: $5 for a 13 Page PDF (1 assignment, 1 project and Answer Key) 
Interactive & Customizable Version: World Traveler Math Project @ NextLesson.org
PDF Version: World Traveler @ TPT

The Product: Students will take a simulated dream vacation in which they have to keep track of their money and convert to multiple currencies

I'm willing to trade my pet goat for
a stronger allergy prescription.
In this 21st Century Math Project  international travel and currency conversion provide the hook to teach defining basic functions and finding inverses. Using exchange rates, students will practice converting into currencies they may never have heard of before.

This project would fit nicely into a Middle School Pre-Algebra class, an Algebra 1 class learning functions, or an Algebra 2 class reviewing inverses.

I created a prep assignment before the big trip. I found that asking my students to do the dream trip without any practice or frame of reference was difficult to do. The prep assignment "Money Changers" allows students and teachers to develop a basic familiarity with how exchange rate mathematics work.

What's a Brazil?
This leads up to the "World Traveler" assignment that takes students through Great Britain, United Arab Emirates, South Korea and Brazil. In terms of global awareness, American students lag behind. This assignment exposes students to a few different parts of the world that they are less familiar. While it is primarily on the surface level, I have tailored the experiences in each country to the attractions and culture they are famous for.

I have found that most students are naturally curious about traveling, and some are interested in culture. This likely depends on your kids. You will certainly have a wide range. Some may never have realized you had to convert currency where others are frequent travelers.

Do you think perhaps we can create
a larger simulation?
EXTENSION: An idea that I've toyed with, but not yet attempted is to create a World's Fair Simulation. I imagine having students set up "booths" representing a stand in another country. There would be Buyers and Sellers. The Buyers have to go shopping and keep track of their money. The Sellers try to make the most money they can.

The idea though is still in its infancy, but it's one that I'm thinking about adding to the project at some point after it develops.

So this is the second addition to the 21st Century Math Project blog post family. Boomdiggy.


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