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Why Do I Need Math?

a WebQuest for 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades

by Heidi Lucas

Introduction | Task | Resources | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion

   Why do I need Math? If you've ever asked yourself this question then the answer is in the palm of your hand (the mouse)! The following links and activities will help you to understand why math is needed, when and where math is useful and how it is used in everyday life. They will also help you to practice your math skills while observing math in everday life and working with a partner.
    Before you attempt the activities you must read the story Math Curse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. It's a fun story that will help you to understand why math is so useful. Good luck and have fun!

After reading the book, Math Curse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, work with your partner to discover the following:


Here is a list the websites you will visit:

  • Math Curse Days gives examples of other students days that have been cursed.
  • Math in Careers provides you with some examples of interviews of people with jobs.
  • Math Curse Word Problems lists many word problems having to do with a math cursed day.
  • Chucklebait provides information on Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith if you're interested.

  • Other Resources:

  • Worksheet is a printable copy of the chart you will need to complete some of the tasks.
  • Ask your teacher for help in finding a copy of MATH CURSE by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith to read.

  • Process
    Follow these steps to complete your quest:

    1. Read Math Curse with a partner. (Don't concern yourself with solving all of the problems in the book, although some of them are fun to try).
    2. Print and fill out this worksheet charting what you do each hour of the day and seeing how many math problems creep up on you throughout the day. After filling in your chart, read through some other students "math curse" days by clicking on this picture... 
    3. Now write your own paragraph about your day as if it were a "math curse".
    4. Using a blank worksheet (the same worksheet as in step 2) you and your partner will choose one of the following roles:

      The Writer: The most important part of your role is being a good listenter. You need to fill out the worksheet by asking your partner "the cursed" what they do each hour of their school day. You then need to fill in the worksheet as you did with your own. Last you need to write a brief summary of when and how "the cursed" uses math througout their school day.  The Cursed: You must do your best to give "the writer" all of your attention. You need to provide "the writer" with information about your day. Be specific when giving examples of how you used math througout your school day and be patient while "the writer" is trying to take down all of your information. Help "the writer" the best you can.

      When you have completed the first role, take on the other role so both you and your partner have been "the writer" and "the cursed".

    6. Click on the picture below and read through some interviews. Then interview a family member or family friend who has a job (yes a homemaker is a job) and find out how they use math in their field. You may want to show them the story Math Curse and read it with them so they can get some ideas of what you're looking for.
    7. Type your interview and share it with the class.
    8. Read through some "math curse" word problems by clicking the picture of cupcakes to the right...
    9. With your partner, choose 3 problems and solve them together.
    10. Now create 3 of your own "math curse" problems based upon your day. Give your partner your problems to solve and try to solve your partners problems. Give your answers back to each other to correct.
    11. Write a paragraph giving at least three reasons why math is needed and how you do or will use it in your life.

    Your work will be checked in 2 ways:
        1. A "Partner" Score Sheet
        2. A "Teacher" Rubric

    Circle Yes or No

    Partner Score Sheet                            Name:
    I helped my partner.
    I listened to my partner's ideas.
    I did my best.

    Teacher Rubric
    Partners Names:
    1 Point
    2 Points
    Participation Partners Participate Partners Cooperate
    Thinking Process Stay on task Verbalize What Is Learned
    Writing Process Complete Written Activities Use Complete Sentences When required
    0-2 Points-Attempted
    3-5 Points-Acceptable
    6 Points-Accomplished
    Partners' Score________

    You have now finished the WebQuest Why Do I Need Math? and hopefully you have come up with several examples to answer that question. Now it's time to have some more fun! Click on the picture to the right  and it will bring you to a page full of fun and helpful math games.

    Email comments or questions to
    Heidi Lucas

    Created 4/20/01