Math Mondays: Pythagoras + Pirates =

I love to make even the simplest of review fun.  I admit I am both personally biased towards the Pythagorean theorem and towards Ancient Greece.  And yes, I know that the Pythagorean theorem was originally developed in Babylonia, but still we always refer to it as Pythagorean theorem not the right triangle theorem out of Babylonia.   So, I have buy-in to working with Pythagorean theorem, because I like it.  My students?  Maybe to so much.  I needed to get creative to get them excited about Pythagorean theorem.  The buy-in?  Pirates.

So you may be thinking how do pirates and Pythagorean theorem go together?  My first  thought was to use maps for students to measure distances travelled using Pythagorean theorem.  But real-world maps seemed a bit dull, so in come the pirates.  And of course, pirates get even more fun with a treasure hunt.  

First, students read a scenario in which they are sent on a treasure hunt. This scenario is important to set the scene and get the students engaged in the treasure hunt.   Using their map and clues they travel throughout the space solving clues.  Of course, to solve the clues, the students apply Pythagorean Theorem.   

Students log their travels and determine the route to treasure.  And maybe in my favorite part of the entire scenario, students write about the treasure they would want to find.  I was really impressed with the variety of answers...very few wanted gold and jewels.  

This activity:

  • Applied Pythagorean Theorem
  • Required problem-solving and logic
  • And creative thinking in designing their own treasure hunts.  

Create your own treasure hunt or get this one here. (a digital version for paperless classes is available here).

And for a fun additional resource for teaching Pythagorean Theorem, check out the water proof below:

Math Mondays is a bi-weekly blog post (2nd and 4th Monday of each month) sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching math.  If you have questions or think there is something I should include, you can leave me a message in the comments section below or at the store in the question and answer section.



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