Saturday, October 8, 2011

Making Use of Old Phone Books

Old phone books may still offer some mathematics educational value.


It has plenty of built in subtraction problems

Another project would be to weigh the phone book and calculate the approximate weight of all the phone books in your area. You could even assign an approx cost if you research materials.

But, of all these, the best exercise for authentic learning I can think of is to simply ask your students what we could do with all these phone books? How could they be used in education?


Vivi Rrr said...

I can't come up with any brilliant ideas for phone books, but I have some starters that could be developed:

1) Code hunting? (Subtracting phone numbers)
John B McDonald-Rebecca J Gerber=?
That will require some name-hunting/dictionary/index searching skills, which can't hurt.

2) Estimate how many people under a letter, and then people in the whole book.

3) Design a logic problem/diagram of people selected from the book. Example: John R. Smith, Randy B. Nielsen, Jack H.M. Mittens, Nicholas G. Umbers. 2 of them are best friends. Each makes 4 phone calls every week to one of the others. Sometimes the call is for the same person. After a year, Jack notices the "8" key of his phone is worn out. Who is he calling the most? (I didn't give this example much thought, it was merely to illustrate the idea).

4) You have to use phone books to build with. All sorts of area/balance/symmetry work could be done.

5) More building. How many would it take to cover our floor? How many open phone books would we need to do the same?

6) Paper airplanes. Angles. Do angles make a difference in performance? Kids can even circle/highlight numbers or letters for coded messages (to figure out who made the airplane, or what they named it). Can be slightly differentiated with other origami.

6) Papier Mâché solid 3-D shapes. Or, roll paper into "straws" and build a bridge/tower.

So, it's a start. =)

Jeremiah Dyke said...


Jeremiah Dyke said...

These are fantastic ideas…kudos to you!

Vivi Rrr said...

I'm glad you like them. And very glad that you share this blog and teach some lucky students. Thanks for your work!

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