Math at the Aquarium

#MathMomentsYou can take the math teacher to the National Championship, but you can’t take the math-mind out of the teacher!

Last week, I detailed my amazing trip to the National Championship with fellow teachers of the year from around the country. The itinerary was packed with activities, and I was pleased that a number of #MathMoments presented themselves along the way.

As I toured The Florida Aquarium, I noticed a number of potential #MathMoments, and I am so excited to share them with you today. Then, next week, in preparation for Super Bowl LI, I will share some strategies I thought of during the National Championship game that you can use to engage your child’s math mind during just about any sporting event you watch or attend.

Teachers, feel free to use these pictures in class too!
They would make for an exciting math lesson.

In the exercises below, I hope you will notice that the questions have some level of research attached to them, even if the research is something observable. We need to challenge our children to identify the information they need, rather than giving everything to them up front.

This is the key to transforming our students from
passive learners to investigative problem solvers.


Next time you pass a jellyfish tank at your local aquarium (or a fish tank at the pet store), try asking your child the following questions to see how their math-mind works:

  • What would be the best way to estimate how many jellyfish are in this tank?
  • How long would it take one jellyfish to swim the width of the tank? What about the length of the tank?
  • I wonder how much one jellyfish eats each day. How much food do you think has to be put into this tank each day to feed all of these jellyfish?


This larger-than-life fish was being a little shy during our visit to The Florida Aquarium. However, his will to be aloof did not deter my #MathMoment radar from picking up on a few questions:

  • How long is this fish from head to tail? How would you go about solving this?
  • What are reasonable estimates for the length of the missing part of the fish?
  • How many of this fish would it take to measure the length of its tank? How could we translate our answer into a fraction or a ratio?
  • How do you suppose the size of this tank would change if there was another equally-sized fish in the tank as well?

What do you think?

I’d love to hear what #MathMoments you see in these pictures. How would you use this in your classroom or with your children at home?




Header Image Photo Credit: The Florida Aquarium Press Kit


One thought on “Math at the Aquarium

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