Math IS Real Life

Today, I’m linking up with Smith Curriculum and Consulting, The Teacher StudioTeaching to Inspire in 5th, and MissMathDork for a look at how math is used in the real world.  You might want to check out their Pinterest board to see previous Math is Real Life posts.

I’ll admit it–I am a teensy bit HGTV obsessed.  And it’s not just the dreaminess of the Property Brothers that gets my heart racing. Gorgeous granite counters and backsplashes, richly colored hardwood floors, warm neutral tones with a pop of color…sigh.  I could go on and on.  Really.
So earlier this year I decided to live out my remodeling fantasy and give my 12-year-old home a makeover. Talk about math!


The first major decision to be made was how I planned to pay for my remodeling project and how much I could afford in my budget. After doing a little research, I decided on a home equity line of credit, and I shopped around for the best rates.  The lending company uses a series of formulas, to determine how much they will qualify you for.  Here’s an example of what the calculation might look like:
From the Federal Reserve Board’s publication What You Should Know About Home Equity Lines of Credit
After closing on the loan, I received my little checkbook!  With a HELOC, you don’t pay anything until you actually use the money.  I just wrote my first check last week as the down payment for my project, so I’m sure I’ll be getting my first bill soon.  Advantages of a HELOC include a low interest rate and the ability to spread payments over a long period of time.

The Built-in Entertainment Center

My house has a cut-in in the den (I don’t know what else to call it), and when I moved in I was very excited because I had an entertainment armoire that fit perfectly in the space.  Twelve years later, the bottom part of the armoire, which contains storage for…wait for it…VHS tapes, is empty and I’m maxed out on the size TV I can have because of the constraints of the space.  Who’d have thunk I’d ever need a TV bigger than 35″? So I found a picture on the Internet of what I’d like the space to look like and drew up my own plans.


I am having my entire interior repainted.  It was an agonizing process choosing colors!  I’m so NOT good at making design choices. The hot tip is that Sherwin Williams sells little sample containers for about $5, so I bought some colors I liked and tried them out.  I selected Bracing Blue for my dining room–it’s the blue in the middle.  Do you know how they make different paint colors?  It’s done using a formula!  To make the blue I want, they start with a base and add in specific percentages of four different colors.  Math!


The tile on the floor of my downstairs has served me well, but I have my heart set on hardwood flooring.  I’m also replacing the carpeting upstairs.  The flooring guy came out and drew detailed sketches of the upstairs and downstairs layouts with measurements of all the rooms and spaces.  To determine how much flooring to purchase for the project, he’ll need to find the total area.  Check out this post over at All Things Elementary for a Dream House project featuring additive area.

Granite Counters and Backsplash

I love, LOVE my granite!  I got to go the tile yard to pick out my very own slabs.  The fabricators will be coming tomorrow to make a template of my countertops, and they will use the template to cut the granite to size.  More measuring!  They actually make a paper template they can move around and lay on the slab to maximize the space.
I looked through a pattern book to choose a design for my backsplash.  The herringbone pattern I chose is a tessellation!  Wouldn’t that be another great project for students?  Designing their own backsplash patterns?
There is so much math involved with my remodeling project!  No wonder I love HGTV.  Ha ha. 🙂


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  1. Donna!!! This post is a mathematical HGTV fans dream!!!! My husband gets so aggravated with HGTV because he knows it will add to the honey-do list! Good thing for him that I love DIY projects and prefer to do them myself – so empowering! Thanks so much for linking up! I hope you can join us again in the future!

    Jamie aka MissMathDork

    1. Jamie, I think I only scratched the surface of all the math involved in this project! It was a fun post to write. I love the idea that you guys are highlighting math in everyday situations with your link up! So important.

  2. When we built out house 5 years ago, I so badly wanted to bring my fifth and sixth graders to the job site. There was so much math involved! I spent a lot of time that fall taking pictures and bringing them into school and having my students help me figure things out. I really wished I had saved those pictures and written down some of the problems we solved. Alas, I was way to busy building things, teaching, getting my masters and solving all the construction problems. I LOVE HGTV!

    The Math Maniac

  3. I love this post. We do a real world math PowerPoint to start out first grade. This year we are going to expand it to some bulletin boards that grow with the year. I hope it is successful!
    Curious firsties

  4. Hi Donna! This is a great post. Before I began teaching, I worked in the garment manufacturing industry as a pattern maker. It is all math (fractions in particular) and there is no room for mistakes. I would explain to my students that when you need to reduce or increase a measurement that is broken up by seams, you have to divide that measurement by the number of seams and then split the new measurement in half. Needless to say, I’m really good at fractions!

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