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Math Playground

What it is:   As promised yesterday, today’s post is all about Math Playground.  This is a great site packed full of games, videos, and puzzles all centered around math for elementary and middle school students.  Math Playground features some great games touching on topics from money to graphing.  The games are interactive and a fun place for students to practice those math concepts they are learning.  The word problem sections are divided up by grade level, ensuring that your students are challenged at an appropriate level.  The logic puzzle section contains some awesome online traditional logic puzzles (I love these!).  The Math video section contains videos introducing students to math concepts (all I have used are very good).  The Math Videos are generated after students submit a math question to be answered.  Students can ask their own math question…who knows, their question may generate the next Math Video!   How to integrate Math Playground into the classroom:  The more I use Math Playground with my students, the more I am convinced that no math class should be without it!  Use the Math videos to help introduce or review concepts with your math class.  Use the games and word problems as a center or whole class practice.  The logic puzzles are fun to bookmark for year round problem solving and playing.  We use the logic puzzles often on snow days or when students are finished with work early.  Your students will enjoy the activities on Math Playground, my students often come to tell me the latest game or puzzle that they played at home.  Voluntary math practice, what a concept!   Tips:  Math Playground usually has one banner advertisement.  As I have mentioned before, I use advertisements on websites to teach students about how to spot an ad and why sites feature ads.     Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Math Playground in your classroom.

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DIY: a maker site for kids

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Art, Character Education, Create, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Music, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 08-03-2013

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What it is: I LOVE everything about this site.  It truly embodies everything I love about learning and technology.  DIY is an online club for kids to earn maker skills.  Kids (otherwise known as Makers) share their creations and work with a larger online community and collect patches for the skills they learn.  Each skill has a set of challenges that help kids learn different techniques and create something fantastic.  When a child completes a maker challenge, they can add photos and video to their online portfolio to show off their creation.  DIY is a website where kids get a public portfolio, an app that they can use to upload videos and pictures of their projects, makers can choose to do challenges to earn “Skills” badges, and a parent dashboard where teachers or parents can follow along on all activity.

Maker identities are always secure, children are asked to choose an animal and a nickname to help protect their privacy. Parents get access to see what their kids are posting online.

I love that this site encourages creativity, reflective portfolios and using technology constructively.  It is an outstanding balance of online and offline activity!

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How to integrate DIY into the classroom: At Anastasis, we strive to encourage a maker community.  We do have a 1:1 iPad environment.  For many, this equates to a technology rich environment (it is) where everything is done or consumed on a device.  I can think of nothing sadder than reducing learning to a device!  We most often use our technology to capture and share our learning.  DIY is a fantastic site that makes way for kids to be curious about the world around them, create something new and use technology to innovate.

DIY is a great place to help students discover the love and joy of being a learner and a creator.  It fosters a classroom culture of innovation and sharing of learning and accomplishment.  So many of the challenges incorporate learning that support standards and other learning that is “required” in the classroom.  These challenges would be great to take on as individual makers, in small groups of makers, or to tackle as a whole class.  Don’t think of DIY as an “extra” thing to add into your classroom routine.  Instead, look through the challenges through the lens of how it can enhance the learning objectives in your classroom.  Embrace the maker culture in your classroom and allow room for creativity and innovation.  The inquiry model of learning lends itself beautifully toward this.  DIY could be the catalyst to making the shift away from more traditional learning and into an inquiry based model.

Tips: Instead of assigning “traditional” homework (read: piles of worksheets), assign a challenge from the DIY site.  Better yet, let students choose their own challenge to tackle and make time in the classroom for them to share their creations and accomplishments.

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

Comments (1)

This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

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