Mathematics courses often have little practical application for solving problems in the real world. Service-learning helps to bridge this gap at the elementary, secondary, and higher education levels. Service-learning in the mathematics curriculum provides a rich opportunity for students to learn while contributing to their communities. Examples of mathematics service-learning experiences include tutoring, environmental data monitoring and analysis (statistics), building structures (geometry–slopes and angles), and designing transportation routes (discrete / combinatorial math). Some of the better examples I have seen are listed below:
- Through research, students discovered that other students and parents wanted to see moreactivities available after school. These pre-algebra students teamed up with physicaleducation and AutoCAD classes to create an Ultimate Frisbee Course. Students worked witha local golf pro to develop the course. They measured the 9 holes, developed a formula tojustify the value and difficulty levels of each hole (Par 3,4,5). After playing a series ofrounds, the students determined the course’s range of difficulties 1-9 and constructed scalemaps and scorecards.
- Due to the overcrowded nature of the parking lot, students counted the number of cars thatare used to drive students to school and the number of students per car. They set up a chartof their school and asked the students what area they lived in. They created a graph of thenumber of cars per students in each area and sent a report home with students encouragingstudents and parents to carpool when driving students to school.
- After determining that the baseball field was in disrepair, geometry students made specificrecommendations on ways to improve the condition of the field, including erosion control ona sloping hill.
- Students conducted a study of the traffic speeds in their downtown area. Using a speed gunprovided by the police department, students analyzed the speeding patterns of motor vehicles.As a result, they asked selectmen for a traffic light to deter speeding. Their proposal wasaccepted and a traffic light was put in.
- Geometry students were asked by 4school. The map was needed so the 4the community. The high school students used the geometry and measurement concepts thatthey learned in class to develop an accurate map, one that indicated where each of the 4th graders to map a nature trail behind the elementaryth graders could make a brochure of the nature trail forthgrade adopted trees was located.