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Just Doodling: Making Math Relevant for Students

What it is: This has got to be one of my new favorite videos on YouTube.  I ran across this video and tweeted about it a few weeks ago, but felt that it deserved a blog post.  Doodling Stars (above) is a stream of conscious video about doodling in math class instead of  learning about factoring.  As the video unfolds, you quickly realize that she has learned all about factoring through her doodles.  I would have connected in some major ways to this video when I was in school (maybe that is why I like it so much now), it would have given me that “wait that was math?” moment.  Doodling Stars is a video by Vi Hart who has a blog where she has other great math videos.  Her other videos include: Binary Trees, Snakes + Graphs, Infinity Elephants, and sick number games. Explore the blog a little further and you learn that ViHart is serious about her math.  In addition to videos she has mathematical foods, ways to play with balloons as mathematical models, paper instruments (relating music to math), music boxes, bead work, and a variety of other math/music resources.  Vi describes herself as a mathemusician, dig into her blog and you will know why! How to integrate Doodling Videos into the classroom: Math shouldn’t be a subject confined to a textbook, seen only in terms of equations and functions.  I think I was in college before I figured out that math was all around me.  I had truly never made the connection to the formulas I was learning and their applications in real life.  Oh sure, there were the “If you left Denver at 1:05 pm driving an average speed of 63.2 miles per hour and arrived at another point 12 hours later how many miles have you traveled?” But really? That is not real world…I have NEVER calculated any sort of trip that way, and anyway, now there is an app that will give me all of that information if I really want to know.  If someone had told me that math was in my doodles, in the music I listened to, in patterns of nature?  Now that is something I want to explore more.  I’m sure you have students who have never made the connections between the formulas they are learning and the applications that are all around them.  These videos will have them visualizing math in a whole new way.  Dig a little deeper into Vi’s blog and share her math foods, balloons, and paper instruments.  See if your students don’t start viewing math differently!  Use Vi’s blog as inspiration for your next math lesson.  Use the videos to help introduce or reinforce concepts, or have students complete balloon math models. Tips: If you can’t access YouTube at school, use a tool like Kick YouTube or Keepvid to download the video for offline viewing. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Doodling in Math Class Videos in your classroom.

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Story Math: Storytelling and Math

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 02-11-2012

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What it is: Story Math is a portion of the Hey Math! website.  Story Math is a collection of 3 activities that use storytelling to present math in a new way.  Students take part in the interactive stories to discover math in new ways, help them learn new math vocabulary and understand concepts more completely.  There are currently three story activities available on Story Math: Mystery on the Block (students join the Premium Private Investigators and discover that geometry holds the key to the mystery of the missing kittens); The Perfect Arrangement (where students are introduced to permutations and how one clever lady uses math to subdue some squabbling scholars); and A Suitable Partner (where students engage in river-crossing puzzles to help Cammue pass the King’s test and marry Bindu).

How to integrate Story Math into the classroom: Storytelling is powerful!  I believe that we are all wired for story. We yearn for it, it helps us to connect with the world around us.  Story Math takes the power of storytelling and applies it to math.  Through story, students see math concepts unfold and discover connections between math concept and math application.  In addition to the story, Story Math includes games and activities where students can practice putting the math they have learned to the test.

Story Math makes a great introduction into new math concepts.  Story Math can be used whole-class with an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  Students can take turns reading (mute it for this option because the text is read automatically).  The story can be paused along the bottom while students discuss the stories and the math in the stories.  Each story invites interaction, provide students with an opportunity to interact with the story.  After the story, discuss what math connections were made.  How can they be applied?  What new vocabulary was learned?  Follow up with the games/activities on classroom computers as a center activity, or again as a whole class on the interactive whiteboard.

Want to do one better?  Show your students Story Math, ask them to explore each of the stories and make notes about the math concept introduced, the vocabulary and the story.  Then have students take a math concept that they are learning, and ask them to create a story of their own.  The first thing they should do is decide on the math concept they want to teach and the vocabulary that is associated.  Next, they should create a storyboard of what will happen in their story.  Finally, they can create the story animation using a tool like GoAnimate, Kerpoof Movie, Zimmer Twins or an app like Sock Puppets or ToonTastic.

Tips: The stories on Story Math take a few minutes to load. They are flash based and require a little patience for the first load.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Story Math in your classroom.

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Comments (3)

I will definitely check out Story Math! Thanks for sharing this, and all the wonderful resources you post. I always open your emails wondering what I will learn about next! :)
I have used GoAnimate and had my students create story problems of their own, they love it!

Thank you Lisa! Hope the kiddos have fun with it!

Story math is a very interesting concept that enhances learning in the students. It can make one of the most dreadful subject appear easy and fun to kids. A similar concept of using Theatre in Education has been adopted for teaching primary students. Farak.net team interviewed this teacher and tried to learn more about this teaching technique. Here is the link to it
http://www.farak.net/pages/FeaturedTeacher.html

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