Math IS Real Life: February 2017 Edition – birthdays!

It’s the first Wednesday of February which means it’s time for our monthly linky – Math IS Real Life!! If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!

If you are linking up, please include the below picture to link back to this blog post


 A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by MissMathDork,


Another January passes and I add another year to my life 🙂  Happy belated birthday to me! One of my favorite aspects of working in a school is when your students want to know more about your personal life.  No, not super personal stuff, but when they get invested in you and want to know more – favorite color, birthday, how old you are, etc….

My first year teaching, I was teaching Algebra, and when my birthday rolled around the kids all asked how old I was.   I was caught a bit off guard but responded in true math nerd fashion and said I was an “even number”.  This very quickly turned into a game of number sense and logic.  Eighth graders are smart enough to know they don’t want to offend you by guess tooooo high, but they’re also savvy enough to know you aren’t a teenager.   Guesses in ranges of 20s and 30s rang out.  Then I gave a second clue.  My age had “4 factors”.  Silence hushed the room and they started calculating in their hear or scribbling furiously on their paper.  Eventually someone came up with 22.   We all had a good laugh, we talked about reasonableness of an answer, and they started asking for “more number puzzles”.   From that point on, every year when a student asks how old I am, I respond with a mathematical “number puzzle”.

What’s great about this is that it instills number sense in your students AND it can be done with any grade level of students, just adjust the math accordingly.  If you’re learning how to add/subtract integers, give them a problem involving integers.  If you’re solving quadratic equations, make a problem so that the answer comes out to your age.  You get the idea.  Also great for those vocabulary words they learned in earlier years but don’t use as often now…. prime, composite, even, odd, divisibility rules, etc.

Super simple, super fun, and it get’s kiddos thinking in a different way.  Here are a few more examples of what you could use:

Think of your classroom make-up… how would you tell them how old you are on your next birthday?  Leave me a message with your mathematical clue and enter to win a $10 gift-card to my TpT store!


  Don’t forget to check out the other MIRL posts below!  Check back over the next few days – more will be added!!

Categories: Uncategorized.


  1. Lori O.

    I teach 4th grade so I would use the clues….I am an odd number, my digits have a sum of 10. They have a product of 21. Wishing I would have done that this year; now I need to wait until next January!

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