Math Tax Worksheet for Students

Math & Taxes

Math & TaxesWith Federal income taxes nearly due, I thought it might be fun to put together a worksheet you can use with students to let them apply math to filing taxes.

Download Math Tax Worksheet

The worksheet is an extremely simplified version of the 1040, with instructions and pretend numbers for students to use. To use it, students need to know multi-digit addition and subtraction, along with rounding (although you could round the numbers for them if needed).

Please let me know if you find the worksheet helpful. A few of you have suggested that I send out ready-to-go worksheets, so I thought I would give it a try.

Remember, one of the goals in teaching math is to equip students to use math in their own lives to complete various tasks. God created man to work, and math is a tool that can help us in that. We can use math because He gave us the ability; thus we, unlike animals, can even file income taxes. And since income taxes are due each year, it’s an example of how math helps us with real-life tasks.

Math Curriculum & Facebook Q&A

We’ve got math curriculum for elementary to algebra and geometry to help you teach math in a way that connects it with God’s creation and real-life tasks.

Have questions about any of it? Let me know–I’d love to answer them. I’m planning to do a Facebook Live Q&A sometime this week (follow our Facebook page for exact timing and to watch the recording afterwards) and will be addressing lots of common questions there too. Hope you can join in!

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Pi Day Is March 14

March 14 (i.e., 3/14) is also known as Pi Day.

Pi, which begins 3.14, is a number that has long fascinated people, as it keeps going and going and going. In other words, it’s a number we can’t even fully describe, yet at the same time, it’s useful in an amazing number of situations (including in helping us measure circles).

Pi reminds us of our limited knowledge (we can’t even fully describe parts of God’s creation) and should cause us turn in awe and wonder at God’s greatness!

Yet instead, many get lost focusing on the number pi itself–worshiping the creation rather than the Creator (Romans 1:20-23).

For more thoughts on pi, check out “Thoughts on Pi,” as well as this lesson from Principles of Mathematics. They both have information you could share with your students now or whenever you cover pi; you could also have students apply pi themselves by finding the circumference of a few circles…or, for older students, by using one of the many physics formulas that utilize pi (see this Wikipedia list for ideas). Update: NASA has put together a Pi Day Challenge that shows just how useful pi is! Note that NASA does not come from a biblical worldview, so please use discernment (while most problems looked great, one at least hinted at finding life on other planets).

When looking at pi or any area of math, remember to point students to the Creator and not to the creation itself.

Reminder: We’ve got a lot of math resources (and even curriculum) to help you teach math as a real-life tool that points to the Creator.

Please share this post with your friends to help them see God’s handiwork in math too!

Super Bowl, Super Football Math

Football Math

Football MathHere are a few examples of how you can use the Super Bowl to show your students that math really does apply outside of a textbook.

We learn math, not just to pass a test, but to be equipped to use it to help us in tasks God’s given us here on earth (and to behold His glory and faithfulness in holding all things together—see God and Math?).

Believe it or not, the Super Bowl was replete with examples of math in action.

  • The Super Bowl Name – Notice the Roman numeral in Super Bowl LII. The Super Bowl name (along with the first quarter, second quarter, first down, second down, etc.) is an example of ordinal numbers.
  • The Team Jerseys – Perhaps the most obvious numbers on the field are those on the team jerseys. There’s an example of how we can use numbers like names—in this case, to identify different players.
  • The Field – Yep, there are numbers on the field itself (50-yard line, etc.), and distance is constantly measured throughout the game. How far of a field goal needs kicked? How much distance left to go to get to the next first down? In a more background way, laying out the football field itself required measurements. And how much grass is needed? Or paint? Again, measuring (think geometry) in action!
  • Confetti (and Other Costs and Profits) – So how much confetti was needed to fire off at the end of the game? And how much would it cost? How much did everything at the Super Bowl cost altogether? How much was brought in through ticket sales? Math can help us answer these behind-the-scenes questions.
  • The Ads – A lot of math goes on behind the scenes when it comes to ads. Below are a few examples.
    • How much money did NBC receive in advertising? If you knew the price of the ads sold, that could be calculated using addition. (In 2017, one source said it was around 385 million.)
    • When deciding if they should buy an ad, companies use math to help them compare different options. One useful measurement often used to compare options and develop an overall advertising plan is Gross Rating Points (GRPs), which is found by multiplying two different measurements together.[1] One can also look at how much the ad costs per thousand people it reaches, which is found by dividing the cost of the ad by the total people reached (in thousands).[2]
    • How much does an ad cost altogether? That would take adding up the cost of making the ad, the actual cost of buying the ad space, etc.
    • Is the ad a good ad to run? There’s no perfect way to tell this, but there are a lot of ways to try…and math can help. For example, one could test the ad before paying millions to air it in the Super Bowl. One testing method called the MSW* ARS shows ads (inside programs) to a sample group of people. Ads are given a score based on subtracting the percent that was for the target brand after the ad with the percent that was for the target brand before the ad (in other words, seeing the difference the ad made).[3]
    • Was the ad effective? Again, there’s no perfect way to measure this, but there are a lot of ways to try. Marketers use numerous formulas when evaluating sales and advertising to try to make sure that their advertising is really making a difference in sales.
  • The Graphics – Numerous graphics were introduced throughout the game. While we don’t often think of math and graphic design in the same sentence, graphic design often does use math. Not only does the computer program(s) used in designing use a lot of math behind the scenes, but graphic designers often use math to help position items, scale them, determine proportions, etc. Oh, and colors are specified using—you guessed it—numbers.
  • Statistics – What was the average cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad? What is the football player’s percent complete? How many yards has the quarterback thrown so far (this would require adding)? And a host of other stats that use numbers (and addition to find those numbers)!
  • The Special Effects – Think of all the work that went in behind the scenes into coordinating various special effects. Math likely had a part in a lot of it: the angles of the lights, the levels of the various microphones (yes, math helps us measure audio levels too!), etc.

A lot goes in to an event like the Super Bowl—including a lot of math. The list above is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it will get you (and your students) thinking.

Math’s much more than a textbook exercise—it’s a real-life tool we can use while praising the Creator.

Reminder: We’ve got a lot of math resources (and even curriculum) to help you teach math from this perspective.


[1] J. Craig Andrews and Terence A. Shimp, Advertising, Promotion, and Other Aspects of Integrated Marketing Communications, 10th ed. (Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2018), p. 348.[2] Ibid., p. 356.

[3] Ibid., p. 386-388.

Weather Prediction & Math
– Plus God’s Handiwork in Snowflakes

With a lot of the U.S. facing cold temperatures and snow recently, I thought it might be a good time to write about how math helps us explore the weather.

  • Basic Math & the Weather – Have you ever noticed how many times numbers appear in news reports on the weather? Consider this recent ABC News article on the storm currently plowing through the East Coast. The number of flights canceled, the amount of snow collected, a comparison with previous snow records, wind measurements, temperatures—reporting on all of these things uses basic math and numbers.
  • Algebra, Calculus, & Predicting the Weather – One question a lot of parents and teachers get when it comes to math—especially algebra and upper math—is why it’s needed. Well, to help us predict the weather is one answer! We use lots of algebra and upper math in exploring the weather. For a simple explanation of the use of super computers and equations in weather prediction, see NOAA’s “Weather Prediction: It’s Math!” For more details, see EDN’s “The Math of Meteorology.”

The weather is just one example of how math isn’t a dry textbook exercise—it’s a way to describe God’s creation and help us with real-life tasks.

Biblical Math ResourcesP.S. Math can be a lot more fun (and make a lot more sense) when students understand why they’re learning what they’re learning and see it in context with real life and science. We offer curriculum and supplemental resources to help you transform math this year.

Bonus: God’s Handiwork in Snowflakes
Math might not be the first thing you think of when you see snow, but believe it or not, math helps us describe God’s handiwork in each tiny snowflake. Check out our previous blog post on “Snowflake Math.

Spiders, Math, & the Creator

It’s hard to watch a spider spinning its web without being awed at how carefully he engineers something so fragile, yet so strong.

When we look at spider webs using math, the awe simply compounds. Did you know that “the spider web is actually comprised of numerous radii, a logarithmic spiral (given by the polar equation r=ae^{bθ} ) and the arithmetic spiral (given by the polar equation r = a+bθ )”1?

(Video courtesy of Julie G.; used with permission.)

Nature worded it this way: “Spider webs themselves are characterized by a highly organized geometry that optimizes their function.”2

Spiders are yet one more example of how as we use math to explore God’s creation, we’re awed at the Creator’s wisdom and care. God designed spiders to spin these marvelous structures!

And we should be grateful He did. While spiders can certainly be spooky, they serve an incredible purpose. In his video Spiders! Ogres, Allies & Architects3, creation speaker Mike Snavely points out that if spiders were to take a vacation, the world would be overrun with insects. He actually uses math to better help us appreciate this fact.

In the video, Snavely looked with the viewer at the results of a study of how many ounces of insects one specific type of spider eats on average per day, and at another study done in Holland estimating the average number of spiders in each square yard. Then using basic arithmetic and some more facts (such as the size of Holland, the size of the world compared to Holland, the average weight of a person, etc.), he walks through how one could arrive at an estimate that spiders consume bugs that would equal the weight of 10,000,000 people per day! [Note: There’s no way to perfectly estimate something like this, but, as Snavely points out, “even if this number is exaggerated by a factor of 3 or even 4, that’s still a staggering number of bugs per day.” And other research indicates that the 10,000,000 number may even be a conservative estimate. It’s safe to say that spiders eat a LOT of bugs…and math helps us get a better idea of the magnitude of how much these little creatures eat!]

Now aren’t you glad God made spiders such incredible engineers? He knew that in a fallen world, we’d need these little creatures to keep the insect population down.

I loved how Snavely actually walked through the math (which was simple arithmetic) behind the estimate of how many bugs spiders eat. While many times science books or resources only quote a final number on a topic, know that math is involved in calculating the numbers you encounter in science. Math is truly the tool we use to explore God’s creation.

Here are a couple of ideas you can use to use math to explore God’s handiwork in spiders:

  • Have your student draw a spider web. (You can find various instructions online; here are 3 Ways to Draw a Spider Web.) As they draw, point out that we call what they’re drawing “line segments,” “angles,” etc. Depending on your student’s ages, you could also talk about the names we use to describe different types of angles (such as acute and right) that they are drawing. Math helps us name God’s creation. You could also have them pull out a protractor and measure some angles.
  • With older students, have them take a look at the spirals in many spider webs.
  • Head for a walk and find a spider web. Use a protractor to estimate some of the angles (being careful not to disrupt the web).
  • Read this article by Institute for Creation Research about God’s design on display in spider webs, and take a moment to thank God together for His wisdom and care over each detail.
  • Watch Mike Snavely’s Spiders!. You’ll be wowed by these amazing little creatures…and the even more amazing God Who created them. Plus, you’ll get to see an amazing example of math in action.

Reminder:  If you’re looking for a math curriculum that incorporates real life examples (including spiders!) so students see math in connection with God’s creation, be sure to check out Principles of Mathematics.
Principles of Mathematics


References:

[1] Alicia Bautista, “Spider Webs: Creepy or Cool?” (Math Projects, 2015), http://recursiveprocess.com/mathprojects/index.php/2015/06/09/spider-webs-creepy-or-cool/ (June 17, 2015 update).

[2] S.W. Cranford, et al., “Nonlinear Material Behaviour of Spider Silk Yields Robust Webs,” Nature. 482 (7383), 72-76. Quoted in Brian Thomas, “The Masterful Design of Spider Webs” Acts & Facts. 41 (4): 16. 2012, http://www.icr.org/article/masterful-design-spider-webs/

[3] Mike Snavely, Spiders! Ogres, Allies & Architects (Mission: Imperative!, 2015).

Solar Eclipse, Math, & Praising the Creator

This upcoming Monday, August 21, 2017, be prepared for a period of darkness in the middle of the day as we experience a solar eclipse.

While solar eclipses occur periodically, it’s rare that the entire United States can view it. According to Time and Date, the last time “a total solar eclipse was visible from coast to coast was almost 100 years ago, on June 8, 1918.”

This short article by Kahn Academy offers a brief overview of a solar eclipse. NASA’s website on the eclipse is complete with information, along with a page of math challenges.

Math challenges? Yes. Math is the tool that we use to explore God’s creation—including the movement of the heavenly bodies overhead. While we can easily read online dates and times that the eclipse will occur in different parts of the world, it’s worth noting that math was used to predict those dates and times. You see, God governs creation so predictably and reliably that we can use math to know ahead of time when something like an eclipse will take place.

It is fascinating to go back and read the works of Johannes Kepler, known for discovering the Laws of Planetary Motion (i.e., mathematical ways of describing the consistent way God causes planets to orbit the sun). His work (which contains a lot of math, by the way) is interspersed with praises to the Creator, such as this one:

Crying out with the royal Psalmist: Great is our Lord and great His virtue and of His wisdom there is no number…To Him be praise, honour, and glory, wourld without end. Amen.[1]

As we experience the eclipse Monday, may we pause and praise the great Creator, exclaiming with the Psalmist:

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. Psalm 19:1-6 (KJV)

I hope you’ll have fun learning a little about the eclipse (see the links above to get started) and how we use math to help us describe the movement of the sun, earth, and moon (look for words like angles, elliptical, etc., as you read). And then as you’re wowed by the ellipse Monday, remember how much greater the Creator is…and that, though our sin earns us His wrath, He took that punishment upon Himself (1 Peter 2:24) and offers us eternal life with Him forever (John 3:16; John 17:3). Is there someone you know with whom you could share that incredible news?

Reminder: If you’re looking for a curriculum that teaches math in such a way that students leave math praising the Creator and using math as a real-life tool to describe His creation, be sure to check out Principles of Mathematics. We also have resources available to help you bring that perspective for other grades.


[1] Stephen Hawking, ed. On the Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics and Astronomy. Philadelphia: Running Press Book Publishers, 2002, pg. 1157.

Choosing a Math Curriculum

So…it’s that time of year again. Time when many anyway start thinking about heading back into academics…and math.

Wherever I’ve spoken on math, the number one question I usually get is related to curriculum. So I thought it might be a good time to share a couple of thoughts on choosing a math curriculum.

  • Look for one that shows math as a practical tool. As Alfred North Whitehead said, “There can be nothing more destructive of true education than to spend long hours in the acquirement of ideas and methods which lead nowhere.” Not only that, but unless students see a purpose to math, they’re left viewing math as some sort of man-made or self-existent truth rather than as a real-life tool that helps us describe God’s creation.
  • Look for one that really helps student understand why the rules in math work. While there’s a place for memorization, it’s also important that, at whatever level a student can developmentally, they understand that the rules in math are not arbitrary but really are simply shortcuts to help us describe the principles God created and is sustaining.
  • Look for one that incorporates history. History goes a long way towards helping students see math in context and understand that the symbols they’re learning aren’t math itself, but rather a language system that help us name the quantities and consistencies around us. They’ll also see how mathematicians have used their God-given ability to solve real-life problems…and be able to see the role worldviews have played.

On a more personal level, also consider

  • the level of parental involvement. Is it manageable for your schedule?
  • the style of the material. Does it present it in a format your child can work through?

Finding a good math curriculum can be challenging. The need for more good math curriculum prompted me to write a math curriculum for junior high (Principles of Mathematics), along with a handbook (Revealing Arithmetic) to go alongside a curriculum the younger grades and add the elements that are often missing in curriculum (such as history). We also carry an elementary and high school program that many have found helpful. So know that those materials are available for you too.

Whatever curriculum you choose, remember that math isn’t neutral or a mere textbook exercise–it’s a way of describing God’s creation. And viewing it that way should transform how it’s taught at every level.

Math and Traveling (Includes Word Problems)

Math & Traveling

Math & TravelingOn a recent flight, I was reminded of how often we use math when traveling without even thinking about it. Below are a few examples (complete with example word problems) of math in action while on a flight–many of the same ideas would apply to car trips as well.

So if you’re traveling this summer, you can use the trip to remind your children how math isn’t a mere textbook exercise. It’s a way of describing the quantities and consistencies God created and sustains around us–and as such, it’s a useful, real-life tool.

Happy traveling!

  • How Much Will This Airplane Ticket Cost? There’s the ticket price…and then there are the taxes, fees, baggage cost, etc., that get added on top. How much is the ticket really costing altogether? To answer that, you need–drum roll please–math! Simply add all the costs together to find the total. Example Word Problem: An airplane ticket costs $119.98, plus $5.50 and $4.78 in taxes and fees. You also need to check 1 bag, which costs $20. What is the total cost? Answer: $119.98 + $5.50 + $4.78 + $20.00 = $150.26
  • What Time Should I Get Up to Make My Flight? How early should we set that alarm for? Math can help us decide!
    Example Word Problem: If it takes you 1 hour to get ready and 30 minutes to get to the airport, and you want to be at the airport 2 hours before your flight leaves at 9 am, what time should you wake up? Answer: You need to get up 3 hours and 30 minutes before your flight (1 hour + 30 minutes + 2 hours = 3 hours and 30 minutes), which would be at 5:30 am.
  • How Much Longer Do we Have Left? At the beginning of the flight, the pilot will often announce how long the flight will be. But after an hour goes by, how long is left? Again, you can use math to figure it out. Example Word Problem: If the flight is 2 hours and 45 minutes long, and you’ve been in the air now for 1 hour, how long in the flight do you have left? If it’s 3 pm right now, at what time should the plane land? Answer: Since you’ve completed 1 hour out of 2 hours and 45 minutes, you still have 1 hour and 45 minutes left, so that would mean the plane should land around 4:45 pm.
  • What Time Is It Back Home? Now that you’ve reached your destination, you want to call back home and let them know you’re safe. What time is it back there? Use math to figure it out! Example Word Problem: If it’s 5 pm in California and you want to call back home to Maryland, what time is it in Maryland if Maryland is 3 hours ahead of California? Answer: 8 pm

Tip: If the example word problems given are too advanced for your child, round the numbers used. For example, in the first word problem, change the cost of the ticket to an even $120, the fees to $6, etc., so as to avoid any decimals. By rounding or changing prices, you can simplify real-life situations so that younger students can begin applying math at their level.

Upcoming Events

I wanted to quickly let you all know about some upcoming events.

This Thursday, April 6, at 8:45 pm EST, I’m going to give Facebook Live a try. I hope you can join me as we talk about math curricula. I’ll share some general thoughts, and explain the new curricula we’re carrying. And of course, I’ll take questions! I’m hoping to also record the session and post it on my website afterwards for those unable to make it live.

Also, below are two conventions at which we’ll have a booth this spring. If you’re there, I’d love it if you would stop by and say hello.

MACHE – Frederick, MD – April 21-22
HEAV – Richmond, VA – June 8-10 (I’m scheduled to do several workshops on math here as well.)

I hope you can join in on one of these events–it would be a blessing to see you there.

As always, please jot me a note or leave a comment if you have any thoughts or questions.

God bless,

Katherine

Now Available: Elementary and High School Math Curriculum

Looking for a math curriculum for your elementary students that is easy to use, teaches math as a real-life tool, AND encourage students spiritually through explorations of God’s creation and character-building stories? How about an algebra and geometry course that shows students why they’re learning what they’re learning?

I’m excited to announce that we’re now carrying elementary through high school math curriculum that teach math as a real-life tool. I’ve put more details about the curriculum below. And you can read more and view samples in our store. I hope they will prove helpful to you in showing your students how math isn’t meaningless—it’s a real-life tool that proclaims the Creator’s praises.


Elementary Math Curriculum: Math Lessons for a Living Education

This is the first program I’ve found that

  • presents math as a real-life tool;
  • has an easy-to-use textbook approach that minimizes parental preparation and thought, AND
  • encourages students spiritually through explorations of God’s creation and character-building stories.

Students will love the stories about children who discover different math concepts in real life. Rather than just being told to memorize facts, they’ll get to discover those facts along with the children and then work worksheets related to that story. The stories all come from a young-earth creationist perspective and illustrate life lessons and good character along the way. Plus, they’re full-color and beautifully illustrated!

Another thing I love about this program is that there’s only one book to buy for the program itself–you don’t need to purchase separate student and teacher’s books. All of the levels include an easy-to-use schedule at the front, along with any notes the teacher needs right there. Level 1 and 2 include a link to download the answers, while Level 3-5 include the answers in the back of the book (the pages are all perforated and hole punched, so parents/teachers can easily pull this section out and place in a binder).

While the program doesn’t necessarily talk about the philosophy of math (why it works, how its very existence points to God, etc.) or math’s history, it presents math in conjunction with God’s creation in a refreshingly simple way. Unlike with many curricula, you won’t have to rework the presentations or try to figure out how to add science or real-life examples—they’re already there, and done amazingly well. Parents could easily add little nuggets about the “why” and the history of math as they go (see Revealing Arithmetic or Beyond Numbers for ideas).

Learn more and view samples.


Junior High Math Curriculum: Principles of Mathematics

Junior High Math Curriculum

This is the series I wrote to both firm up elementary math and give students a big picture understanding of high school math—all while intensively building their biblical worldview and problem-solving skills. When finished, students will be ready to jump right into algebra, understanding both what algebra is about, why it’s important, and how it points to the Creator. There’s even an optional eCourse component available.

The program will help you transform your math class, show students why math (including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and probability) matters, help students understand the mechanics of math, and leave students awed at God’s faithfulness.

Learn more and view samples.


High School CurriculumAlgebra and Geometry Curriculum

I’ve always had a high regard for Jacob’s high school math series, and was excited when I saw they were being reprinted. I love how this program incorporates history and teaches the student to use math in problem-solving situations. Students won’t be left wondering what all those xs and ys or geometric proofs are about anyway. Instead, they’ll learn to apply the skills their learning and truly think mathematically. While the program doesn’t connect math to God, it does teach math as a practical tool. If students have already completed Principles of Mathematics, they should be able to see how what they’re learning declares the Creator’s praises. There are also DVD lessons available to help with mastering the skills.

Learn more and view samples.