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ERIC Number: EJ1074916
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Penguin Math
Green, Daniel; Kearney, Thomas
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v21 n2 p114-120 Sep 2015
Emperor penguins, the largest of all the penguin species, attain heights of nearly four feet and weigh up to 99 pounds. Many students are not motivated to learn mathematics when textbook examples contain largely nonexistent contexts or when the math is not used to solve significant problems found in real life. This article's project explores how male Emperor penguins are able to survive in Antarctica. In so doing, it addresses measurement, applies geometry, and helps foster problem-solving skills, all within a real-life context. Students use a fairly small set of background skills to combine and apply geometry, measurement, conversions, and (possibly) statistics to the problem of computing penguin body surface area and heat conservation. Students become aware of the concept of measurement uncertainty and how it could affect the outcome of the problems they were solving. Finally, students learn about model assumptions and questioned their validity and effect on the outcome of their computations. They combine many areas of mathematics with science to solve a real-life problem; this activity is meaningful and fun learning experience for both teacher and student. [A bibliography and activity sheet is included.]
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Elementary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Antarctica
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A