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SumBlox: explore number relationships through visual/kinesthetic play

** This is not a sponsored post, I’m just super excited about this product and can’t wait to see what our students do with it! What it is: Why yes, this is a technology blog. But no, this manipulative is not a technology product. I’m writing about SumBlox here anyway because technology led to the happy discovery of SumBlox and is a great reminder of why it is important to be a connected educator! I learned about SumBlox just a few weeks ago on Twitter as a share from ISTE from @michellek107 and @sumblox. This also isn’t a free tool (like I normally share), but I’m already so impressed by the brilliance of this tool, that I’m sharing it anyway! SumBlox are a wooden block set of numbers 1-10. What makes those blocks and numbers super amazing: each block size corresponds to the number that it represents. (1 being the smallest and 10 the biggest). Even more super amazing, when the blocks are stacked, they represent the equivalent number. For example, when the 2 and 3 blocks are stacked, they are the same height as a 5 block! GENIUS!! These blocks are a visual and kinesthetic representation of our base-ten number system. I purchased the Educational Set for our classrooms which comes with 100 solid hardwood blocks including: Thirty 1 blocks; twelve 2 blocks; eight each of the 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 blocks; two 10 blocks and four teaching manuals. The purchase was right around the $300 mark with free shipping and a 10% discount with the code “sumfun.” How to use SumBlox in the classroom: These blocks allow students to visually represent and discover math relationships. Students can stack blocks to explore and visualize addition equations, if the stacks are the same height, they also have equivalent values. Students can stack multiples of a number to represent abstract math concepts like multiplication grouping or addens of ten. Students can also explore the concept of fractions and of the mathematics behind adding fractions with different denominators by stacking and scaling fractions. SumBlox also are a fantastic introduction to algebra concepts. The educational set comes with 4 guides that lead you (the teacher) through exercises and lessons to do with your students. While these are extremely well done, because we are inquiry based, my excitement comes in seeing how students will explore these independently first. I’m excited to see students discover the number/size relationships and number patterns. At Anastasis, we have a 1:1 iPad program. I anticipate that students will use these blocks for stop-motion animation projects as they explore (iMotion HD is the app they use), capture their discoveries of number relationships in their eportfolio (we use Evernote), and even in Explain Everything videos. Tips: If you are an administrator purchasing these for your school, go ahead and purchase a few of the educator kits. I only purchased one and am already going back to order one for each classroom. These are going to be popular!

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HIP2B²: Science/Math edutainment magazine and videos

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Evaluate, inspiration, Interactive book, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 11-02-2011

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What it is: HIP2B² is an edutainment site that aims to show students that subjects that are generally labeled as “difficult” or “hard” can be fun and are important to our future success. HIP2B² is a website, digital magazine, and TV show that work to equip learners with vital life skills including analytical thinking, problem solving, and a curious mindset.  The goal is to encourage curiosity in science and math in everyday life.  The magazine is a high-quality quarterly publication that is free to view online, the magazine uses the Issuu platform for the digital viewing.  You can see an example of the digital HIP2B² embedded above. The TV show can be viewed online, powered by YouTube.

How to integrate HIP2B² into the classroom: The HIP2B² videos and digital magazine are a fantastic way to invigorate a sense of curiosity and discovery in your students.  The digital magazines are really well done, students will eagerly read through them.  Each of the digital magazines is focused on a science or math topic such as mysteries, senses, the environment, technology, origins, animals, safety, food, intelligence, and much more.  Students can view the digital magazines all the way back to June 2007.  Use the digital magazines as inspiration for science and math inquiry.  Students can read through the digital magazines on a classroom computer set up as a reading center, as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer, or individually in a lab setting.   Do your students get silent reading time in class? Allow them to use the computers to read through the HIP2B² digital magazine.

In the video section, students can learn about “tricks” of science like invisibility cloaks and floating paperclips or more serious science like nanotechnology and extreme weather.  These videos can be used to introduce a topic or science/math concept or to illustrate a concept.

Are your students working on science and math that encourages analytical thinking, problem solving, and curiosity? Why not have them create their own HIP2B² inspired digital magazine.  Students can put together their own magazine using any word processing or publishing program and upload the finished product to Issuu to share with the world.

Tips: For those of you who don’t have access to YouTube in your building, you can still use these awesome videos in your classrooms with a little bit of pre-planning.  Download and save YouTube videos so that you can show them at school without accessing the YouTube site. UseKeepVidYouTube DownloaderHDKick YouTubeSaveVid, or Zamzar.  Some of these tools will even let you download at school if you know the YouTube url.  The downloaded video should have no trouble playing at school!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using HIP2B² in your classroom!

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