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PBS LearningMedia Presents Math Resources Related to Everyday Life

October 19, 2015 - Posted in Education

These featured PBS LearningMedia math resources offer teachers a range of creative hooks to get students engaged with core math concepts and highlight their relevance to everyday life.

Algebra and Chemistry as They Relate to Coffee

What can the coffee roasting process teach us about math? Lots! Every blend of coffee has a unique mixture of variables that must be solved for – two of those important variables are time and temperature. When the beans are roasted at high temps, it causes a chemical, or “maillard” reaction, and those reactions create new chemical compounds that impart flavor qualities. In this video from UNC-TV, students will watch a small business describe the algebra and chemistry behind importing, roasting, packing and distributing coffee beans.

The lesson includes an interactive activity on algebraic reasoning and a video featuring Bill Nye "The Science Guy," as he explains basic algebra and its application in everyday life. WATCH:

Evading Zombies Using Calculus!

If you knew more about tangent vectors, do you think you could escape the clutches of a zombie? In this video from NOVA Digital, students will immerse themselves in a hypothetical world filled with zombies, one where they always move straight toward humans. This means that the tangent vector of a zombie's path points at the intended target.

But what happens when the human moves? Then, the zombie's tangent vector points to where the human is at that instant, not to where the human is going. The zombie is not smart enough to move toward where the human will be. Therefore, it takes a longer path, giving the human the chance to get away. Show your class how to evade these frightening beings with some calculus!

Supported by ETV, PBS LearningMedia offers teachers more than 100,000 videos, images, interactives, lesson plans and articles drawn from critically acclaimed PBS programs and from expert content contributors like The National Archives and NASA. Educators in South Carolina are invited to sign up at


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