by Pamela Young, Published April 13, 2010
YPSILANTI - Remember those word problems in math that asked questions such as, “If an average bushel of corn contains 31 ears and weighs 13 pounds, how many ears of corn would it take to fill 47 bushels?”
Eastern Michigan University student Jason Rich, of Wyandotte, wants to help make those problems more relevant to the current generation. To accomplish that, he has entered the Refresh Everything contest, sponsored by Pepsi.
Rich, a post baccalaureate student in secondary education, wants to “make math cool,” by winning the contest and taking the $25,000 to produce materials that would update math materials.
“I want to create worksheets and videos that give better examples besides corn and trains,” said Rich. “I want to embrace more of their culture.”
Rich said examples would include an average length of a song and then ask how many songs could fit on an iPod.
“Culturally relevant examples can show teens how much they use math in many aspects of their lives, perhaps even without realizing it,” said Rich, 33. “Removing the negative stigma around math will allow for teens to reach their true potential in mathematics.”
Rich’s project is currently ranked 225th. The top ten ideas in several different categories will receive specifically requested amounts of money to help realize the concepts.
Anyone can vote for any of the ideas at refresheverything.com Voting ends April 30 and those interested can vote every day.