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Math Fun Lesson Plan

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall,
Who Needs Math in Life at All?



  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts
    --Visual Arts
  • Educational Technology
  • Mathematics
    --Applied Math


  • PreK
  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

A fun bulletin board display helps students explore the ways they use math in their daily lives.


Students will

  • think and talk about the ways in which they use math throughout the day.
  • add each way to a "math in real life" bulletin board.
  • reflect in writing on the ways they use math.


real, math, real-world math, bulletin board, every day, everyday, journal, digital, camera

Materials Needed

  • aluminum foil or a mirror
  • art supplies
  • digital camera and photo software (optional)

Lesson Plan

This lesson helps students see how often they use math in their daily lives.

Before the Lesson
Cover a bulletin board with white construction paper or lightly lined chart paper. Cut a sheet of aluminum foil into an oval about 3 feet tall and two feet wide at its widest point. Hang the foil (or a mirror of roughly those dimensions) in the center of the bulletin board, on top of the white paper or chart paper.

Cut out large letters and staple the headline WHO NEEDS MATH? to the bulletin board. Leave the bulletin board up for a couple days without saying anything; see if any students express curiosity about the display.

After a couple of days, introduce the bulletin board to students. Read aloud the question that appears above the mirror. Help students "see" who needs math. Ask students to think of some of the ways in which they use math every day. Write their responses on the white construction or chart paper.

As the day goes on, any time students do something that involves math (if they keep score during a game, count lunch money, line up according to height, or count the number of minutes left before lunch, for example), add that information to the list on the bulletin board. Doing that will help make clear the students' homework assignment for the next few nights

Point out to students that there is plenty of room on the bulletin board to write additional ways in which they use math in their everyday lives and that, over the next week or so, you want them to give lots of thought to the question Who needs math? Tell them that each night they are to keep track of ways in which they use math outside of school. (Suggest they keep a written record so they don't forget any of the many ways they will encounter.) Each day, add those ways to the list on the bulletin board.

Soon the bulletin board will make its point very clear -- math is everywhere in our lives! Math is as important a skill to develop as reading is.

Extension Activities

  • Have each student trace a handheld mirror on a piece of drawing paper, draw a picture of himself or herself in the area where the glass would be, and write the headline Who Needs Math? on the drawing. Ask students to keep track of the ways in which they use math during the next few days and have them record those ways in the area around the mirror tracing. The drawings will serve as a reminder of how important math is in their lives.

  • Take the above activity one step farther by having students use technology to create their mirror images. Use a digital camera to take students' photos. Students use a photo-shop software program to superimpose their photograph onto a drawing of a mirror.


Invite students to write in their journals about the importance of math in everyday life. Prompt their writing with the simple question: Who needs math? (If students do not keep journals, they can write a brief paragraph or essay in response to the question.) The bulletin board can serve as a source of ideas for their writing.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

ARTS: Visual Arts
NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 5 - 8
NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 9 - 12
NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

MATHEMATICS: Communications
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-COMM.PK-12.2 Communicate Their Mathematical Thinking Coherently and Clearly to Peers, Teachers, and Others
NM-COMM.PK-12.3 Analyze and Evaluate the Mathematical Thinking and Strategies of Other

MATHEMATICS: Connections
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-CONN.PK-12.2 Understand How Mathematical Ideas Interconnect and Build on One Another to Produce a Coherent Whole
NM-CONN.PK-12.3 Recognize and Apply Mathematics in Contexts Outside of Mathematics

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Originally published 01/02/2003
Last updated 03/202009