Many teachers of Mathematics are faced with a dilemma in the classroom: How do I make this lesson relevant and interesting? Students are constantly bemoaning the importance of one mathematical concept or another, and why they need to know it. Numeracy is as important as literacy, but generation after generation dread Math because they do not connect its usefulness to everyday life. This has been my personal goal from the time I decided to become a teacher.
Food is so much more than something you grab at the drive-thru. The manner in which it is produced has everything to do with the seminar topic of
Energy, Environment, and Health
. The intent of this unit is to utilize Math to examine and explain the costs, tangible and intangible, associated with the production of food. And what could possibly be more relevant to a teenager than food?
Even the White House has been promoting local farming. Food co-ops, farmers' markets and even backyard gardening have all been a part of Michelle Obama's agenda. Not everything we buy can be produced locally, but many of the things we enjoy are available just down the road!
If the way to a teen's heart is through his stomach, perhaps the way to get him to think differently is through his wallet. Math students need to understand that Algebra is the mathematical explanation of everyday life. By presenting students with a mathematical vantage point, perhaps the movement toward community supported agriculture will rise again and a new generation of citizens might actually enjoy math class!