The Absolute Value of Math!

Updated: May 18

by Joseph Langley


Many people think that math is boring, or confusing, or just all around not a good experience, but at Minarets’ annual Showcase Night, math teacher Sean Hileman turned that completely on its head.

Sophomore Jonah Ewalt explaining absolute value functions

In his first session at 6 p.m., senior Ildefonso Anguiano, junior Colton Barclay, senior Judy Gee, senior Colton Ralph, junior Perla Sanchez, senior Martin Urroz, and senior Emilio Zarate, presented a financial literacy presentation about the best financial advice they’ve been learning throughout the year so far. They used mathematical principles to show how money could be managed, applying their learning to real world examples.


Following this, at 7 p.m., sophomore Jonah Ewalt, junior Michael Holland, junior Summer Talamantes, and junior Jackie Navarro, gave presentations on absolute value equations. They did so by projecting an image of a pool table onto the board, and using the online graphing site, Desmos, to move an absolute value equation around over the pool table. They explained how these types of equations worked, and then used them to calculate the exact angle they needed to hit the cue ball in order to sink a bank shot.


Jackie Navarro presenting her pool table project

Summer spoke about this innovative new way of teaching math, “It’s fun and creative, and using pool really forces you to think differently.” Instead of just memorizing formulas, students get to have fun thinking about a game, that they can learn math through.


Nancy Holland, a parent in the audience of this presentation, said that she loved the idea as well. “I love the notion of turning this room into a billiard’s place, with kids calculating their angles around real pool tables.” She went on to talk about the mini pool tables they make, and how one could fit in the far corner of Hileman’s room. She was very passionate about the idea of students being able to get the hands on learning experience of real world mathematics.


Thinking of ways to present math to parents can be a challenge, but Hileman wasn’t afraid to be creative, and that lead to a fantastic and successful Showcase Night!


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Check out the rest of our Showcase articles in our Special Edition Newsletter!


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