I See Math

I See Math

Diana Herrington (@mathdiana) and I are trying something using photos and Google Slides. Something we advocate is using photos in your math class to help students connect the learning objective to real objects. Diana is always using her phone to take pictures of things around her. This is accompanied by a nerdy giggle of how she sees the math in the object. These photos, however, live on her phone.

Denis Sheeran (@mathdenisNJ) is a strong advocate for bringing our daily experiences into the classroom. Be on the lookout for math everywhere, how can we help students see math everywhere? Denis has a book coming out in August titled “Instant Relevance: Using Today’s Experiences in Tomorrow’s Lessons.” In the book he describes ideas and methods for flipping instruction on it’s heels. Instead of teaching math and hoping for an application some day, Denis uses our common experiences to teach content. He wants you to replace “When am I going to use this in life” with “Where in your life did you get that from?”

The Project

Create Google Slides with a photo of where you see math. Share it. The idea here is quick and dirty. If it’s a whole process of making elaborate lesson plans we won’t do it. Create a plain white Google Slides presentation, add a picture and a slide with your thoughts on how you could challenge students to see math in the photo.

Link to Slides

Google Slides

The Google Slides app on your phone is amazing. You can not only view your Google Slides presentations on your phone; you can create new ones, add photos directly to a slide and edit the presentation.

Take a Photo

When you see math in the world, take a picture. Rule of thumb, take your pictures in landscape! They go nicely on a slide that way.  Go to the Google Slides app and add a blank slide. Click the plus icon in the toolbar to add a photo.

Add a Story

Add a slide to explain what you were thinking of asking the students to challenge them to address the math in the picture. Stories and narrative are powerful ways to make connections for learning. Consider writing the story of how you found the math along with the challenge.

Keep it simple

We are intentionally leaving the slides white and having just 3 slides in this project. If we do not have to make a lot of edits, it’s easy to quickly create these on the fly.

Keeping it simple also makes it easy for others to remix the slides. You may see different math in the picture. Simply having a title slide, the picture slide and a story slide with a challenge provides a lot of opportunities to build on the initial idea.


We have created a folder to share our project.



The more you share the more you get. When creating “I see math” Google Slides, share what you made! One option is to add to the folder we created. The folder above is view only, make a copy of any of the Slides inside and edit or adjust as you wish!

if you would like to add projects to the folder, we have created a folder that anyone can edit. Add the below folder to your Google Drive. You will be able to add your projects into this folder. Tip: Use the Google Drive app on your phone. Search for “I See Math” to locate the folder. Click the plus icon in Google Drive to create a Slides project right in the shared folder.


Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a copyright license that allows others to use your work without directly asking. Attribution (credit) is required. This project is under a creative commons license. Any images or items in the Slides are available for modification.

creative commons

Ask More Questions

Be careful not to give away too much of the math in the story or the challenge. We reduce the critical thinking for students when we give them too much scaffolding. Notice in the stick or log description, diameter was intentionally not mentioned.

What math would you calculate and why to determine if a length of wood is a stick or a log? Include diagrams, experiments, math calculations

As students are working on the challenges ask them additional questions to help guide them when necessary. The first guiding question is “what other math might you consider?” “Can you brainstorm some math terms you might want to explore for this challenge?” This then leads into questions such as “Does ratio come into play?” or “Is it a log if it is fat but super short?”


Link to Slides

Link to Slides

Link to Slides

Link to Slides

Link to Slides

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