Math with Antlers Chad Commander & John H. Lamb Teachers of mathematics are expected to use activities, implement tasks, and create experiences that engage students in the learning of mathematical content through meaningful connections (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM], 2000; NCTM, 2014; Texas Education Agency, 2012). Hiebert (2003) summarized research pertaining to effective teaching that increases mathematics learning with the statement that "students learn what they are given opportunities to learn" (p. 10). Opportunities are the key, and experiences associated with these opportunities build the foundation of learning mathematics. Eddy and Keuhnert (2018) synthesized research pertaining to constructivist questioning influenced by the work of Jean Piaget and concluded that students construct knowledge by assimilating new information with previous knowledge gained through experiences. Implementing tasks that promote reasoning and problem solving help to create these experiences that engage students in their learning of mathematics (NCTM, 2014). This article presents a classroom activity used to help students connect the procedural algorithms of adding and subtracting rational numbers to a culturally-relevant, real-world task beneficial in scoring deer antlers. Real-world tasks in the mathematics classroom are not a new concept. NCTM has published several books and journal articles related to real-world connections in the mathematics classrooms. Navigating Through Measurement in Grades 6-8 (Bright, Jordan, Malloy & Watanabe, 2005) is one book in a series from NCTM designed to connect mathematics to the real world. NCTM also has published numerous articles in their practitioner journals written by teachers and mathematics educators showcasing classroom activities geared toward realworld applications. Teachers are called to connect the mathematics they teach to the lives of their students if they are to increase interest and improve student performance in mathematics. Teachers can provide opportunities for students to measure elements of bird stations (Poth, 2006), linearly predict the presidential election (Lamb, 2007), mathematically compose photographs (Lamb & Stevens, 2010), or even reverse engineer the mathematics of video games like Angry BirdsÂ® (Lamb, 2013) to help students explore the value of mathematics through culturallyrelevant, real-world applications. This article highlights one application that has cultural relevance in many parts of our country and state. The first author of this article is a middle school mathematics teacher in a rural school located in an area similar to the region of Texas where he was reared. This teacher has worked with the second author through professional development programs centered on problem solving and mathematical connections. The majority of this article is written in first person from the first author's point of view. www.txmathteachers.org Origin of the Activity As a mathematics teacher, I am always getting the question, "How am I going to use math in life?" This question challenges me to develop lessons I know will connect to the lives of my students in rural East Texas. I grew up in a small town in deep East Texas, and I vividly remember the excitement of opening weekend every fall. Most East Texans know what "opening weekend" means, but for some who may not, opening weekend is the weekend that begins deer-hunting season. I have found that many of my students shared this excitement about hunting, so I decided to create an activity that connected their excitement of hunting with their need to learn mathematics. This activity requires students to mathematically score the antlers of a whitetail deer using the official Boone and Crockett ClubÂ® (2015) scoring system for North American big game trophies. The Boone and Crockett Club began in the early 1900s with founders including President Theodore Roosevelt. The founders crafted a mission statement in 1923 as part of their Certificate of Incorporation that read, It is the mission of the Boone and Crockett Club to promote the conservation and management of wildlife, especially big game, and its habitat, to preserve and encourage hunting and to maintain the highest ethical standards of fair chase and sportsmanship in North America. (Boone and Crockett Club, 2017) During this time, hunting was not regulated and populations of certain wildlife were shrinking rapidly. The conservation efforts of groups like the Boone and Crockett Club have helped to make sure wild game are available as needed but also protected. Fall/Winter 2020 | 25http://www.txmathteachers.org

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