Creating Math Problems that Connect to Current Events

By Monica Burns 02.24.2015 blog

Making the connection between social studies and English Language Arts isn’t a stretch for most humanities teachers. Using social studies in the math classroom can be another story. Teachers who want to show their students the importance of math in a real world context can turn to current events. Students can solve problems related to global, national or local issues that use data and information connected to real situations.

How do I get started?

First decide if there is a particular area you want to focus on when connecting math and social studies. You might choose to create math problems that use data connected to a current event or a context that relates to a particular unit of study your students are learning about in their social studies class. Once you have decided the type of information you want to include in your math problems you will have to locate data and key details related to a topic. As soon as you have some information to work with you will have to decide how this can best be integrated into the math content you are teaching.

Where can I locate data?

You can pull out key facts or statistics from a news clip. You can also search for data at research organizations like the Pew Research Trust or search to locate information on a particular topic. If you have a specific topic, you may want to search a database or website dedicated to that issue.

Who writes the problems?

You can create the problems or collaborate with other teachers to develop this type of curriculum. Another option is to ask students to create math questions using a set of data they have found themselves or you have handpicked for them.

Connecting math instruction to the real world can engage students who may have low confidence in this subject area. Students can gain purpose in their work and see the value of mastering math skills. By applying math concepts in situations that relate to current events students will understand how these skills can be applied in a variety of situations.

Have you used current events or news stories to create math problems?

Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.


  1. 2013-9-18-Lee-Fritz

    Is there a spot where a few teachers are already creating these types of problems to go and get some examples?

  2. Tristan menzl

    Who does take the most selgies??

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