Inspiration from McDonalds



Alright, so maybe I shouldn’t be outing myself as a more-frequent-than-I-should-be customer of McDonalds, but today’s visit was interesting for several reasons. Firstly, my order was taken by an old CW Jefferys student of mine who’s doing a paid co-op placement, so we got to catch up and talk about her plans after high school. Also, I learned that my Filet-o-Fish (pictured above) was made with MSC-certified sustainably-sourced wild Alaskan Pollock, which basically means that it’s a bit better for me than farmed fish, the fish lived decent lives and weren’t fed junk like GMO corn or soy. Also, all sorts of math can be done using the McD’s own nutritional information, not only to learn math concepts, but also to use the math to raise awareness of making informed decisions about the food students choose to eat.

For instance, have students create three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) that they would enjoy eating, and then calculate the percentage of daily intake for calories, fat, etc. according to Canada’s Food Guide. Then, have students create three healthier (and I do use that term loosely) meals from the list of McDonalds food items and see the difference in the percentage of caloric and nutritional intake. I’m quite sure that plenty of questions about what is/isn’t healthy will abound in this exercise, which is an important lesson in and of itself. I’ve always thought about trying something like this with my Grade 9s. Now that I’ve thought it through a bit more, sounds like it’s definitely worth doing next time around.

I knew going to McDonalds today was a good idea.

Math with Mewtwo – Learning math using Pokemon TCG Cards

Pokemon cards

If you are like me and a proud parent of a 7-ish year-old boy, you’ve no doubt encountered Pokemon cards – you may have even been completely into them yourself as a youth (personally, I was more into Power Rangers). These cards with pictures of strange animal-like creatures are part of a trading card game similar to Magic, and my son LOVES them. So, why not try to make the most of this often expensive interest and make it educational? For the past few months, rather than playing the real rules of the card game, we play with them by taking turns “battling” each other’s Pokemon with their attacks and associated amount of damage until the opposing Pokemon’s health points (HP) are reduced to zero. Needless to say, this involves plenty of subtraction using mental math. I’ve noticed that after several months of playing, my son’s subtraction skills are getting stronger – he even explains what he’s doing in his head after each calculation. Plus, he’s willing to do this for, like, an hour or two. It’s amazing how much learning kids will do if the activity is a game or using something that they’re totally interested in. That’s what I’ll be bringing back to my classroom after the winter break. Whether it’s basketball, dancing, or Pokemon cards (my Grade 9s LOVE Pokemon, too), make math fun and relevant.