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Math and Social Media (activities for middle/high school students)

Updated: Jan 17


Social media (Instagram, Snap chat, YouTube, etc) have become an integral part of our lives.

Kids use social media from an early age: from watching toddler videos on YouTube to sharing memes on Instagram in their teens.


Why not make connections between math and social media in order to engage students and show them how math is used to achieve social media success.


“How?!”


Let’s take a look.


YouTube Views Scatter-Plot


One of the activities that could engage students in real life math is tracking the YouTube view count of a celebrity video and figuring out the trend.

For a week, a student would record the number of views per day. This data will then be put into the table of values and plotted on the Cartesian plane.

A grade 7- 9 student would just try to figure out the line/curve of best fit, discuss the trend, make predictions and conclusions based on the graph.

A grade 10 - 12 student would consider an exponential relation and discuss why and how the views are growing at a certain, determine an equation of an exponential function and graph it.

It would be nice to catch the premiere of a potentially popular video and track it from 0 views for a week to see the real picture of how social media works.







Instagram Success


Math helps determine what type of content can potentially become trendy on Instagram and bring you more followers. SMM (social media marketers) use math to determine what type of content they need to create.

A student could select 2 meme accounts (appropriate, of course), select 10 most recent posts and compare their number of followers, number of likes of their meme images, etc.

Record the results for each account in separate tables and compare.

This would be a great activity to discuss the “average” number of likes, how it helps determine which account is more popular and how it reflects on the number of followers.

Such activity could be a part of the lesson on calculating the mean in grades 7 - 11.



There are countless ways of using social media use and sharing patterns. All of them involve different types of math which could help design social media strategies and achieve success.


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