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Building Math

Created with support from the GE Foundation's Math Excellence Program, Building Math inspires students to learn algebra by solving engineering challenges on imagined adventures to Mount Everest, the Amazon, and a deserted South Pacific island. The three-book series for grades 6 – 8 was developed by the Museum of Science and Tufts University. Over the past two years, it has been piloted successfully with hundreds of students in Massachusetts schools.

In hands-on investigations integrated with engineering design activities, math students collect and analyze their own data, helping them develop algebraic thinking skills and solve real problems (such as designing a bridge prototype or building a shelter). On each adventure, they apply math knowledge and concepts to their investigations and use the engineering design process to meet challenges.

Recommended for enrichment, or as a replacement unit, each title in the series has an engaging theme:

  • Everest Trek (grade 6): While scaling the world's tallest peak, students must design a well-insulated coat, a bridge to cross a crevasse, and a zip-line transporter to descend the mountain in an emergency.
  • Stranded! (grade 7): On a remote South Pacific island, students design a shelter, a water collector, and a canoe loading plan to survive.
  • Amazon Mission (grade 8): To help people in Brazil cope with malaria, students design a carrier to insulate medicine, a water filter, and a plan to stop the spread of an influenza virus.

The Building Math book series includes a reproducible teacher book with student handouts and teacher support materials (for each grade level), a poster of the design process, and a DVD of classroom implementation. It is available nationwide via Walch Publishing, To order, call 1-888-991-5755.


Curricular Project


Grades 6 - 8


Museum of Science, Boston