How Shook Are You?

How much did that title trigger you? I’m not a shill, I swear!

If you understood any of those words, good on you! If you didn’t, chances are you stopped reading and went to Google to look up the definition to try and understand what I was trying to say.

These slang words are everywhere. Even the word “slang” is slang for shortened language. You hear it all the time: on the radio, in your home, from your friends, if you’re a teacher definitely in your classrooms.

Let me tell you a thing, man. If you want to do a rad math lesson that not only introduces trends but gets your kids engaged because it’ll relate to them in the best way possible: they speak that language. Not only will they be super excited to be speaking their hipster tongue, you’ll also (hopefully) get them super excited about speaking your language: math.

Here’s a really cool site that you can use for the lesson:


Photo credits to Google Trends

It’s a card on Google Trends and it is amazing. This particular card shows you the top rising definitions of last year (2016) and how it is ranked based on how often they were searched in Google.

Click on the image to go straight to the card. You can scroll down to see different representations of the same data Google has been collecting over the past couple of years; even the top rising definitions of words from previous years.

But how would I use this in a lesson? And why would I ever encourage my students to use language that I don’t understand in the classroom?

Let’s face it. Students are more and more distracted every day by the various forms of technology they are exposed to; I am not an exception to this because just now I checked my phone to see if I had a message from anyone….

Why not use this distracting quality of technology, and the students’ overuse of slang,  and at least attempt to make it educational? They’re going to do it on their own at home anyway; might as well make it relevant to the subject matter you’re teaching.

With this Google Trends card, you can prompt students to think critically about:

  1. How these words got popular
  2. Why some words might have died out
  3. Predictions about how much longer they’ll stay popular based on their own personal experiences/uses of the words as well as the data on the site.

Plus, the site is really interactive, so even kids that aren’t usually engaged will want to play with the cool colorful things they see on the site, or explore any of the other Google Trends cards that are available.

Photo Credits to Google Trends

Trending word definitions are not the only things you can look up on Google Trends. There are sections about everything and anything that somebody has put in their search bar and pressed enter.

Here’s what their card on Global Warming/Climate Change looks like (click on the picture to go to the website):

Photo Credits to Google Trends

You can see how each major city/country ranks regarding the frequency of searching those words on that list on the left. It’s incredible. Google Trends is one of many leaps Google has taken to visualize data to make it easier for educators to present and analyze information they have been collecting. You would also be doing your part as a citizen by spreading awareness and making sure your students, or anyone who would listen to your lesson, are able to make well-informed decisions.

They will also avoid sounding like know-it-alls who have no concrete information to back their claims up. They could just pull out the notes from your lesson and the activity they did and present the same information, thus increasing the number of people who are aware and are able to make informed decisions.



Featured Image Credit: geralt on pixabay

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