Numbers at Work

Mathematics/Language Arts

Students will research the kinds of math skills are used in their community by conducting an interview with a member of the community.


Tell students that there are many facets to community life. People are not only connected by culture and geography, but also by the work that they do. People bring a variety of valuable and helpful talents and skills to their work in any given community.

What You Need

What to Do

  1. Explain to the students that they will each be conducting an interview with someone working in their community. The purpose of the interview will be to determine the kinds of math skills that are needed for the job, how math is applied in the job, and the kind of preparation needed for this person to do the math required for the job. Distribute the Numbers at Work worksheet and explain how to fill it out.
  2. Have the class brainstorm possible candidates for the interviews. This list might include local business people, community workers, professionals, artists, service people, and so forth. Then have the class list possible questions that will help them get the information they need. Questions might include, “How often do you use math in your job?” and “What types of mathematical operations do you use in your job?”
  3. Assign the interviews for homework. These may be done in person or on the phone. Have students take notes to remember pertinent information. After the interview is complete, each student should fill in the Numbers at Work worksheet.
  4. When students return to class, divide them into groups of 4–6 students. Have them share their research. Have each group compile a summary of their findings about math skills, applications, and preparation on large sheets of newsprint, and have them discuss these findings with the class.