H5 – Applications of Learning Beyond the Classroom

H5 – Honor student potential for roles in the greater society. Teacher candidates prepare students to be responsible citizens for an environmentally sustainable, globally interconnected, and diverse society. This means that the teacher helps students make connections between the mathematics taught in the classroom and the applications in the world around them. Students should be able to see the connection between the math and their surroundings, essentially answering the question “Why do I need to learn this?”

The evidence presented is a collection of activities which help students make connections between the mathematical concept and the world in  which they participate. Three units stand out as particularly relevant to my students. The first, was the use of polynomials, students were exposed to polynomials as they are used at Pixar animation and the United States Navy Office (USNO) to calculate the location of the moon and on a given day. The second application is for studying complex numbers. I provided students with access to a link which explains how trigonometry and complex numbers relate to spring systems in engineering. Finally, the most important is how exponential functions and the use of logarithms. On sample is to model how the human body decays drugs over time and another sample is how earthquakes are rated using the Richter Scale. For both, we discovered some shocking outcomes using mathematics. Making content relatable to students improves engagement and improved engagement increases learning opportunities.

Links to Evidence:

Each of these samples came from my own curiosity of how the content relates to the world around me. Generally, my students are interested in space, art, science, computers and engineering. In creating this content and hooking the students into participating in the activities for the real world application according to their interests, I have help students articulate the purpose for the content within their immediate future. For me, I learned about many applications of these tools too. For the Pixar Animation information, I contacted Tony DeRose, a Research Group Lead at Pixar Animation. I learned how to bring the world of mathematics into my classroom directly from the industry leaders themselves. With the creation of the Richter Scale Activity, I have become familiar with the common misunderstanding about how the Richter Scale actually works. Interestingly, a one point increase on the Richter Scale is NOT 10 times the previous energy, but rather about 27 times more energy. With Drug decay, students learned that theoretically, a drug will NEVER leave the body, its concentration just decreases.

Students benefit from the application because of their immediate use and interest in the topic. When students have some applications for the work they are doing in Mathematics, they become more interested in exploring more about the topic. I have become successful if I have interested one student to pursue a STEM career and they have used the tools learned through the application lessons in my class.

One area of weakness in helping students realize the potential for this topic is having them research the applications themselves. While I am truly interested in the matter, students will most benefit if they are able to do the research themselves and make the connections. One barrier is my fear that they will not be able to find inaccessible content because the mathematics is too advanced for their understanding. I could promote the learning by encouraging these students to do a project in which they find the application of these tools within the world and talk with an industry expert about the application of these tools themselves and ask questions to build understanding. This may pique their interest even more and teach them about the applications of learning beyond the classroom.


M6 Reflection: Social and Cultural Influences

H1 – “To demonstrate a positive impact on student learning, teacher candidates honor student diversity and development.” (Seattle Pacific University). This standard implies that each student has a unique set of personal and developmental differences where teachers can use recent and relevant research to positively impact student learning.

Students, Parents and Stress discussion post

Stress is a relevant and very real part of students lives. The impact of such stress has adverse effects on brain development and learning (Medina, 2008). Educators should use research based strategies to be aware of student stress and learn how to assist students in maximizing learning potential. The following screenshot is taken from a class discussion board which demonstrates my understanding of research showing stressful home live and the impact on student development within the classroom. In this piece of evidence, I discuss how creating an inclusive classroom community can negate some of the harmful effects induced by stress. This is relevant to the H1 program standard since unique home experiences can directly impact student learning and educators should address the effects of developmental challenges students face, even when they are beyond the control of the teacher.

In writing this post and discussing the impact on student experience, I made new connections with the importance of creating a classroom community to help students overcome stress from outside the classroom. When students have a safe classroom environment, even with uncontrollable stress, students can continue to learn and develop in content areas. Awareness of student stress and getting to know students can positively impact student learning. In my classroom, I will create a learner friendly environment to foster learning. Additionally, I will use best practices to engage my students with multi sensory lessons (Medina, 2008). By increasing engagement in learning, no matter the situation, students will learn more (Borich, 2014). Classroom communities and sensory integration in learning all provide opportunities for students to engage in the content and increases learning. There are many other social issues classroom teachers have the opportunity to impact. Using research based strategies to impact the community will positively influence student development.


Borich, G. D. (2014). Effective Teaching Methods: Research-Based Practice (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ.: Pearson Education, Inc.

Medina, J. (2008). Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.

Seattle Pacific University (n.d.). HOPE Standards. Seattle Pacific University School of Education. (Accessed Aug. 2, 2014).