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Photo by Erika Fletcher on Unsplash

The Math Functions in the Real World playlist was created to group together walkSTEM virtual experiences that demonstrate the different forms that mathematical functions can take in the real world. From the playground to your car’s dashboard, we encounter functions every day. After all, functions are just systematic methods that take in inputs and produce outputs. In these videos, talkSTEM high school student volunteers, Anagha Gouru, Ronak Dhingra, and Tej Dhingra worked as a team to produce this series of eight short videos showcasing math functions in the real world.

This playlist was created in response to a presentation that a member of the talkSTEM advisory board, Dr Paul Fishwick (UT Dallas) gave on the talkSTEM platform in May 2020. You can watch the 10 minute talk in Math Functions in the Real World – Part 1.

We hope that you will use this playlist to grow your curiosity and to gain a deeper understanding of what functions are at their core and the many different forms they can take. It is important that today’s students see the connections between math functions and the real world because functions are so prevalent in all STEM fields, particularly computer science. Thus, if students can see functions as simple and relevant to their daily lives, they will be more likely to not give up on pursuing a passion for STEM.


Please watch these videos in any order. Here are some descriptions of each video in this playlist:

Diameter vs. Circumference
Ages: 12-14
Grades: 7-8
How does a circle’s diameter relate to its circumference? The video goes into what pi is.

Sinusoidal Functions
Ages: 16-18
Grades: 11-12
What function can we use to describe the motion of a playground spring, ferris wheel, and spring? This video goes into Sinusoidal functions as they are seen in the real world

Projectile Motion
Ages: 14-18
Grades: 8-12
Whether it’s playing baseball, tennis, soccer, or basketball, we have all seen projectile motion (or objects in free fall) before. This video goes into how we can describe this kind of motion.

Where’s the Data on your Dashboard?
Ages: 10-14
Grades: 4-8
Turns out, the information presented on your cars dashboard makes for quite the interesting lesson on functions!

How Does the Area of Tiles Change?
Ages: 10-12
Grades: 4-6
This video looks at what happens to the area of a region when you add tiles of uniform area to the region.

How Fast is It Moving?
Ages: 10-12
Grades: 4-6
This video is a very simplified look at position vs. time functions in the context of a moving ping-pong ball

How Profitable is Your Lemonade Stand?
Ages: 10-11
Grades: 4-5
This video looks at the cost and revenue functions associated with running a lemonade stand! Also, we calculate the profit of the stand at the end.

How Thick is Your Book?
Ages: 14-15
Grades: 8-9
This video looks at what happens to the thickness of the left side of a book as you read more pages.

If you are a teen or undergraduate student interested in virtually volunteering by making videos, writing blog posts, or sharing photos of your #STEMLens, email us at info@talkSTEM.org. We are a nonprofit organization and you will receive community service hours for your time.

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About the Founder & CEO

Dr. Koshi Dhingra has dedicated her career to STEM education and is passionate about having every child live up to their potential. Seeing a lack of girls and other underrepresented youth in STEM programs, she founded talkSTEM in 2015 to address the imbalance. She has a doctorate in science education from Teachers College, Columbia University, has years of experience teaching in graduate and undergraduate programs, and has held leadership roles in universities. She advises and collaborates with a broad range of educational institutions globally. Dr. Dhingra began her career teaching science in middle and high school in New York. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and two dogs.

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