


Lesson 1: Math Sleuths
Grade Level: 58
Lesson Introduction
Students work together to complete a Math Hunt that challenges
their problemsolving skills and provides opportunities to further
social studies or science understanding. Each group then presents
their answers to the class and the processes used to get these
solutions.
Build Background Knowledge
Discuss the practical applications of math in everyday life.
Ask students to share some of the ways they use math (determining
how much time they have to get home in time for dinner, calculating
how much money they’ll earn from babysitting their brother,
determining how may points they need to get the high score on
their favorite game, etc.).
Then share realworld uses of simple and advanced mathematics
they may not have though of, such as:
 Show a train schedule timetable: How much time do we have
if we want to make the next train?
 Check the newspaper for a story about local government budget
plans: How do officials know how much money they’ll have
to spend?
 Discuss a construction project that’s going on in your
neighborhood: What are the many ways math is essential to ensuring
the building goes up right (cutting wood to size, calculating
the amount of weight the foundation can hold, determining the
correct angles for support beams, etc.)
 Look at sports statistics from the newspaper: How do you figure
out an athlete’s averages based on his or her performance
numbers?
Explain that in Math Hunt, they will uncover math questions like
these in a variety of places—from throughout history and
everywhere on Earth.
Teach with the Activity
Investigate:
 Divide class into small groups of three or four students.
To each group, assign a Math Hunt that’s related to a
topic you are studying this year.
 Walk through one Math Hunt question so the students understand
how the process works. Explain that each group of students will
complete a Math Hunt on its own and present to the class how
they came to find their answers. They’ll document the
steps they took to try and solve the problem.
 Encourage students to break their problems into small steps
and show their work.
 Each group should create a Math Hunt Grid (like the one below)
to record their work.
MATH HUNT GRID
Name of Math Hunt ________________________
Student Team ______________________________
QUESTION 
Problem 
Steps Used 
Math Skills* 
Show Work 
Answer 
Score 
1.







CORRECTION 






2.







CORRECTION 






3.







CORRECTION 






4.







CORRECTION 






5.







CORRECTION 






* Students can find math skills listed on the homepage of each
Math Hunt, or go to the Skill Chart
for a complete list of math skills in the Math Hunts.
 Students should record their work and answers before
clicking the appropriate letter in the activity. If the answer
they’ve reached is incorrect, the group should try it
again until they come to the right conclusion and record their
answer in the “CORRECTION” row.
 Be sure students fill in their group score on the chart.
Present Your Findings
 Let each group decide how they what to present their Math
Hunt work: poster board diagram; flip chart; PowerPoint presentation;
even creative methods such as a TV news program.
 Provide time for students to collaborate on their presentation.
 In their introduction to the presentation, groups should include
a brief summary about the social studies or science topic they
explored. Ask groups to include at least five things about the
topic they learned from the Web sites that they did not know
before.
 Give a time limit (perhaps 5 minutes) for each presentation.
Suggest that each group create a handout for the class that
includes information about the Math Hunt.
 If while working to solve the problem the group makes any
mistakes, they should present the incorrect path first and then
show the correct solution. Do other groups recognize the mistake?
Extend Learning
Additional Activities:
Help students create a Math Hunt board game using the steps below.

Students create
a 100space game board in a path from start to finish. Each
box along the path should be named for one of the math skills.

On index cards,
students write Math Hunt questions from each of the science
or social studies topics (one question per card) along with
the three possible answers (correct one marked); on the opposite
side, students write the math skill the question correlates
to.

Place the cards
in piles according to math skill to the side of the game board.

Set up a “Reference
Library” nearby with printouts of the Web pages where
players can search for the information they need to solve the
questions.

Provide scrap
paper that players can use to work out math problems and paper
that be used to keep score.

Divide students
in to two or more teams.

A player on Team
A rolls a die and uses pawns to move around the board. When
the pawn lands on a skill, the opposite team picks the top card
in the pile and asks Team A the question.

Using the “Reference
Library,” the Team A players needs to find the information
to solve the question and then work out the math solution.

For every correct
answer, a team earns 10 points and can go again. For incorrect
answers, a team loses 5 points and the next team goes.

The team to reach
100 points wins.
Benchmarks
4th Edition Standards & Benchmarks
Life Skills
Thinking
and Reasoning
Selects the most appropriate strategy or alternative for solving
a problem
Working
with Others
Works cooperatively within a group to complete tasks, achieve goals,
and solve problems
Language Arts
Writing
Uses electronic media to gather information
Uses multiple representations of information to find information
for research topics
Reading
Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of
informational texts
Uses prior knowledge and experience to understand and respond
to new information
Mathematics
Uses a variety of strategies to understand problem situations
Knows the difference between pertinent and irrelevant information
when solving problems
Uses explanations of the methods and reasoning behind the problem
solution to determine reasonableness of and to verify results
with respect to the original problem
Formulates a problem, determines information required to solve
the problem, chooses methods for obtaining this information, and
sets limits for acceptable solutions
Understands the concepts of ratio, proportion, and percent and
the relationships among them
Multiplies and divides whole numbers
Adds, subtracts, multiplies, and divides decimals
Adds and subtracts simple fractions
Solves realworld problems involving number operations
Adds, subtracts, multiplies, and divides integers, and rational
numbers
Understands the correct order of operations for performing arithmetic
computations
Uses proportional reasoning to solve mathematical and realworld
problems
Understands the basic measures perimeter, area, volume, capacity,
mass, angle, and circumference
Knows basic geometric language for describing and naming shapes

