Foundations of Real World Math

Purpose of Course  showclose

“Why is math important?  Why do I have to learn math?”  These are typical questions that you have most likely asked at one time or another in your education.  While you may learn things in math class that you will not use again, the study of mathematics is still an important one for human development.  Math is widely-used in daily activities (e.g. shopping, cooking, etc.) and in most careers (e.g. medicine, teaching, engineering, construction, business, statistics in psychology, etc.).  Math is also considered a “universal language.”  One of the fundamental reasons why you learn math is to help you tackle problems, both mathematical and non-mathematical, with clear, concise, and logical steps.  In this course, you will study important fundamental math concepts.

This course begins your journey into the “Real World Math” series.  These courses are intended not just to help you learn basic algebra and geometry topics, but also to show you how these topics are used in everyday life.  In this course, you will cover some of the most basic math applications, like decimals, percents, and even the dreaded “f-word”–fractions.  You will not only learn the theory behind these topics, but also how to apply these concepts to your life.  You will learn some basic mathematical properties, such as the reflexive property, associative property, and others.  The best part is that you most likely already know them, even if you did not know the proper mathematical names.

Let’s start with fractions. Have fractions ever been bothersome to you? Do you think that there is no purpose for them?  In this course, you will learn that fractions are all around us in the forms of measurement, ratios, and proportions–and we think you might change your tune on the subject.  You will see how to solve those sometimes troubling fraction problems, like the ones that use 1 ? and 3 ?, which don’t divide as evenly as you’d like. In case you’re not yet familiar with fractions, let’s offer a common every day example: a recipe for making chocolate chip cookies.  You see a recipe that calls for 2 ? cups of flour, ¾ cup of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla, and you need to make 2 ½ the recipe amount.  Each of these measurements involves fractions.  If you want to make the right amount of cookies, you have to determine how much you need of each ingredient.

This course will also introduce you to decimals and percentages, which are widely used in money, finances, and measurement.  Decimals are all around you, including when you download applications for your smart phone.   Say, for example, you’ve just purchased the newest Angry Birds application for $0.99.  The number 0.99  is a decimal.  If you want to spend no more than $10.00, then you will have to determine how many other applications you can download without going over budget.  In this course, you will learn how to solve complex decimal problems, such as 13.4561 – 21.03 and 301.21 * 140.31.

You will also learn to write ratios and solve proportions in the course.  You are probably already very familiar with ratios, even if you’re not aware of it.  A recipe that calls for “2 parts milk to 1 part flour,” or a speed limit sign that reads “55 miles per hour,” or a newspaper ad listing apples at a cost of $2.99 per pound — these are all examples of ratios.  Ratios and proportions are particularly useful when doing an everyday activity like planning a party: “If I need two hams for nine guests, how many hams will I need for thirty guests?”  Learning how to set up and solve problems like this is a very useful mathematical concept that is applicable to real life situations.

Finally, have you wondered how graph and charts are created with certain data?  Data can be visually represented in various forms (bar graphs, circle graphs, etc.) to convey information to a reader. In this course, you will see data in common forms and will have to interpret data (for example, reading a chart of the most downloaded songs from iTunes or interpreting football statistics for your fantasy league).  The final unit of the course pertains to charts and graphs and includes the interpretation and creation of various charts and graphs.

Course Information  showclose

Welcome to RWM 101.  General information about this course and its requirements can be found below. 

Course Designer: Eric Clark

Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials.  However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:
Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials.  Please pay special attention to Units 1 and 2, as these lay the groundwork for understanding the more advanced, exploratory material presented in the latter units.  Throughout the course, there are activities assigned from the Pre-Algebra Textbook that you will need to complete.  You will also need to complete:
  • Subunit 1.4 Assessment
  • Sub-subunit 2.3.4 Assessment
  • Sub-subunit 2.4.2 Assessment
  • Sub-subunit 2.5.2 Assessment
  • Sub-subunit Assessment
  • Sub-subunit Assessment
  • Sub-subunit 3.2.6 Assessment
  • Sub-subunit 4.2.4 Assessment
  • Sub-subunit 5.2.2 Assessment
  • Sub-subunit Assessment
  • Sub-subunit 6.3.2 Assessment
  • Subunit 7.2 Assessment
  • Subunit 7.3 Assessment
  • Subunit 7.4 Assessment
  • Subunit 7.5 Assessment
  • Subunit 7.7 Assessment
  • The Final Exam
Please note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam.  However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the readings, lectures, activities, and assessments listed above as well as all resources in each unit.
In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of approximately 140.5 hours to complete.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit and to then set goals for yourself.  For example, Unit 1 should take approximately 9.75 hours to complete.  Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunit 1.1 (a total of 4 hours) on Monday night; subunit 1.2 (a total of 3.5 hours) on Tuesday night; subunits 1.3 and 1.4 (a total of 2.25 hours) on Wednesday night; etc.
Tips/Suggestions: Please make sure to take comprehensive notes as you work through each resource.  Complete all practice problems, because this will allow you to fully understand each concept.  These notes will serve as a useful review as you study for your Final Exam.  

Khan Academy  
This course features a number of Khan Academy™ videos. Khan Academy™ has a library of over 3,000 videos covering a range of topics (math, physics, chemistry, finance, history and more), plus over 300 practice exercises. All Khan Academy™ materials are available for free at

Learning Outcomes  showclose

NOTE: Each of the learning outcomes listed below has been aligned with one or more of the Common Core standards in mathematics. This alignment is reflected in the numbered notation listed alongside each outcome below. For more information on Common Core standards, please read here.

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract. (1.OA.B.3)
  • Apply properties of operations as strategies to multiply and divide. (3.OA.B.5)
  • Explain how negative numbers are used together to describe quantities having an opposite direction. (6.NS.C.5)
  • Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving the four operations(including fractions and decimals). (4.MD.A.2)
  • Find the greatest common factor and least common multiple of whole numbers. (6.NS.B.4)
  • Recognize a fraction as part of a whole. (3.NF.A.1)
  • Explain equivalence of fractions. (3.NF.A.3)
  • Use equivalent fractions as a strategy to add and subtract fractions with like and unlike denominators. (5.NF.A.1)
  • Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole and having like and unlike denominators. (5.NF.A.2)
  • Determine how to solve multiplication and division of fractions problems. (5.NF.B.3, 5.NF.B.4a)
  • Solve real world problems involving multiplication and division of fractions. (5.NF.B.6, 5.NF.B.7)
  • Use decimal notation for fractions. (4.NF.C.6)
  • Read, write, and compare decimals. (5.NBT.A.3)
  • Perform operations with multi-digit whole numbers and withdecimals to hundredths. (5.NBT.B.7)
  • Solve multi-step real-life and mathematical problems posed with decimals. (7.EE.B.3)
  • Use ratio concepts to solve problems. (6.RP.A.1)
  • Analyze proportional relationships, and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems. (7.RP.A.2)
  • Convert between percent, decimal, and fraction notation. (6.RP.A.3d, 7.NS.A.2d)
  • Use proportional relationships to solve multistep percent problems. (7.RP.A.3)
  • Represent and interpret data in various graphs. (3.MD.B.3)

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Have competency in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Unit Outline show close