‘When will I ever need to use this in life?’ is a common complaint of hormonal middle school math students. In a new web series, Scholastic and Project Runway star Tim Gunn are giving kids the answers they want. The series is called Math@Work, and it applies math concepts to real-life professions.
Math@Work is intended for children in grades five through eight, so it uses a direct, educational style. Gunn, who has mentored aspiring designers for twelve seasons of Project Runway, here mentors three students as they apply math to desirable jobs.
Naturally, the first episode takes to the fashion world, where Gunn and his team of math experts team up with Diane von Furstenberg, using ratios and geometry to design a “warrior cape” straight out of a middle school student’s daydream.
Math@Work is advertised as a classroom tool for teachers, but Scholastic might be wise to tailor future web productions toward the kids themselves. After all, teens are taking to YouTube in record numbers; what better way to influence them than by doing it through their favorite platform?
Nonetheless, Math@Work is a fine start. Gunn is a good ambassador who can teach children that their math education won’t be as useless as they think.