Real-World Math: Snacks and Algebra!

After discussing the definitions of relation and function in my College Algebra class, the students completed a “math lab” where they investigated relations and functions in the real world. The Numbers file attached below is what I created as their lab document. The file was posted in our course Moodle page for the students to access and download. After downloading and discussing the assignment, students answered questions about a vending machine I had taken pictures of on campus. To extend the assignment, each student was required to find another vending machine, then insert a photo via a placeholder and analyze that photo based on guiding questions. There are also summary and reflection questions at the end of the document.

Students were allowed to share and discuss their vending machines the following week using the screen mirroring capability of their iPad and AppleTV. Once the sharing and discussion were completed the students were required to submit their completed lab documents in Moodle. The use of real-world math labs in College Algebra has helped my students become more actively involved in learning and experiencing mathematics. The goal is to make the math concepts more relatable and fun too!  


4 replies

February 07, 2023

Who doesn’t like to eat snacks?? I know I have put my share of money in a vending machine.😀 Great application to see math in a simple event that we are all very familiar!

February 07, 2023

Thanks for sharing this great resource!!

February 07, 2023

I love how you have a passion for teaching your content through real world applications and well-designed activities. Did I mention how nice the layout looks as well? Your students are so fortunate to have such an innovative and creative instructor! All that and a bag of chips (from the vending machine). Hahah!

February 08, 2023

This is a phenomenal example of real-world engagement. Thank you for designing such an authentic, immersive, lesson!

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