Search form

Zombie Math Awakens Student Interest in Algebra

Zombie Math Awakens Student Interest in Algebra

Happy Halloween! No matter what day it is, teaching algebra can be a fright at times. Helping students who have trouble understanding math concepts or have motivation problems is challenging.

In New Mexico, teacher Brian Smith is using zombies to teach algebra in his classroom and students have "to use their math skills to figure out how to coordinate the perfect parabolic arc to launch accurate mortar fire at the walking dead," said an article on SantaFeNewMexican.com. 

"Because when it comes to being a student of Zombie Math, you just don't fail the test. You get eaten alive," the article said. Smith, the article said created a computer program, Zombie Math, "as a way to keep students engaged in algebra."

According to the article, Smith figured that "since most teens enjoy zombie movies and The Walking Dead television series, they might appreciate knowing that math could help them overcome a zombie apocalypse."

"The program puts students through a series of about 10 different problems per story day that feature algebraic functions involving decimals, percentages and probabilities," the article said. "If they correctly answer the first problem, they move forward in the story. If they fail, they have to go back, tackle a slightly easier problem [with some hints on how to solve it] and then head back into the zombie fray."

Ninth-grader Adam Apodaca said "despite the sometimes number-heavy text, Zombie Math could work as a catalyst to get kids to pay attention to math," the article said. "Every day is survival."

Smith said he is a big fan of science fiction and fantasy, the article said, and though Zombie Math "would be more fun for them than 'Jodi are her friends went to the movie. They have $35 between them and need five tickets at $5 each. How much money will be left over for popcorn?’ I wanted to spice it up a little bit.”

Zombie Math, he said, "falls into line with the new Common Core standards in that it requires students to prove they understand why they are adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing and conducting other mathematical equations," the article said. "The problems require not just an answer but an explanation of how kids got there."

“If you get to the end of this story then you’ve proved to me that you can master algebra,” Smith said.

The article said Smith recommends people to visit this website to teach Zombie Math.

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

Latest Education News
What better way to promote summer learning than to engage in STEM activities?
Why Singapore's math curriculum is creating the world's best and brightest in the subject.
Sexual assault cases persist from elementary school up through college, so what's the solution to make schools safer?
Some experts are arguing that more classrooms that utilize blended learning will help decrease the high number of...
Parents in the Hazelwood School District are no different than many parents across the country in that they don't...