To get a perspective of “What is a Math Trail?”, view this 10-minute video excerpt from “Math Trail” episode of Teacher Talk Series with Kay Toliver
The math trail was first conceived as a way to help students become active learners by finding the math that exists in their communities.
There is no one “right way” to conduct a math trail. The basic activity is simple: students observe the environment outside the classroom, to discover examples of math concepts that they are studying. They then create problems for others to solve based on their observations.
A series of observations and problems can be put together to create a “trail” that others can follow. The trail can lead participants into the community, or trace a route through the school grounds. The choice will depend on the circumstances and resources that exist at
your own school.
Done well, a math trail can help students discover new things about their community at the same time that it sharpens their mathematical thinking.
The math trail activity has these objectives:
To help students value mathematics by giving them an opportunity to discover its applications in the real world.
To improve students’ problem-solving ability by giving them an opportunity to create and solve their own problems.
To improve students’ ability to communicate mathematical ideas.
To improve students’ ability to work together on mathematical problems.
To develop students’ interest in and respect for the community in which they live.