Using CCRS to Apply Math to Everyday Life

I attended the session CCRS Math: Reach Into Rigor, which was presented by Amber Delliger at the North ABE Regional in October 2015.

The main focus of the workshop was how rigor was applied to the College & Career Readiness Standards (CCRS). Rigor was explained as a conceptual understanding of the lesson, followed with procedural fluency to be comfortable with the lesson, and finally, how to apply the lesson in real life situations. Rigor can be academically challenging while providing learning experiences to help students understand concepts that are complex, and yet provide critical thinking skills throughout their lives.

I decided to apply what I learned in the workshop to my introduction to fractions class. Prior to this class, we had just talked about fractions and tested students’ knowledge of fractions. There seemed to be no relevance to apply the lesson to their everyday life. The students had some idea of what a fraction was when we started, but had no idea of how to implement it into something useful.

The CCRS Math session explained how to break the lesson down with “hands-on” blocks and materials to apply it in real life situations. So this time the students used hands-on materials such as blocks and Legos to solve problems. The process was slow, but procedural fluency was improving.

From, Teacher Uses LEGOs To Explain Math To Schoolchildren

After a week of problem solving, the students had to apply their understanding of fractions to their lives. Their lesson was to go to grocery stores, apparel stores, gas stations, and restaurants and gain a conceptual understanding of how fractions are implemented, then bring the receipts back and explain them.

As a result of this lesson, students were able to calculate the following:

  • One student purchased a sofa. The cost of the sofa was $899, and the sale price was 25% off. Knowing that 25% = 1/4, she rounded the price to $900 and figured out that 3/4 of $900 = $675.
  • Another student purchased a heater from an appliance store. The cost of the heater was $170, and the sale price was 25% off. Knowing that 25% = 1/4, the student calculated 3/4 of $170 = $127.50
  • At CVS, 7up was on sale for four 12-packs for $12. Sold separately the cost was $4.99. To determine the sale price per 12-pack, the student calculated 4/12 =1/3, so one 12-pack cost $3 on sale.
  • At Penney’s, jackets were on sale for 50% off plus 25% off the sale price. The cost of the jacket was $76. The student figured out 50% = 1/2, and 1/2 of $76 = $38 on sale. Then 25% = 1/4, and 1/4 of $38 =$9.50. So the final cost of the jacket was $38-$9.50, or $27.50.

By explaining the problem and introducing fractions to the students, then using manipulatives to get an understanding, and applying the problems to real-life situations, students seemed to gain a better grasp of the lesson. The learners were responsive to the lesson and wanted to try it again for reinforcement.

The CCRS Math session I attended was well worth the time involved. It brought clarity to the standards and showed coherence by building skills over time and using focus to concentrate on one subject to master it.

Jim Cortese, Instructor Northwest Indian Community Development Center