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  What it is:   Get Smarter is an animated, interactive testing and learning site for science and math.  Students can practice their science and math skills by working on the animated activities and compare their score with other students their age from around the world.  Nothing like a little...

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Math Trail: Powered by GoogleMaps

Posted by admin | Posted in Geography, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 02-04-2013

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What it is: Math Trail is a neat way for students to explore virtual trails that lead to a variety of locations connected by a theme.  Along the way, students put their math and geography skills to the test.  The trail list currently has eight trails to choose from, with varying degrees of difficulty.  Students can choose an Olympic trail, 7 Wonders, Towers, Rivers, Eminent Mathematicians, Famous Islands, Cricket or Ramanujan trails. To begin, students choose a trail and then click on the “start” button.  A list of instructions pops up.  In each trail, math questions are hidden around the map.  Students zoom in within the map to the location suggested by the clue.  There are little balloons located all over the map.  If students struggle to find the location, they can click the “show location” button at the bottom.  At the bottom of the page, there is a white box that holds clues.  When students reach a location, they are given a math challenge to complete.  At each location, students have the opportunity to earn a gold coin.

How to integrate Math Trail into the classroom:  I like the integration of history, geography, social studies and math in this game.  Students aren’t just going through a series of multiple choice math problems.  Instead, students are set forth on a journey and asked to locate various places according to the clues given.  This means that as their math skills are put to the test, they are exercising that geography muscle as well!  I don’t know what it is about maps, but they are just fun to explore.  The treasure hunt nature of Math Trail keeps it interesting.  Students get math practice and geography practice along the way.  This beats the practice set that is in the textbook!

I found some of the “low” and “medium” level questions to be challenging.  Before playing with students, go through the trails to find the challenge that is most appropriate for your students.  This could mean that you have students playing different trails.  The low end seems to be 6th-7th grade math with the Medium being middle school and the High being high school.

These trails are great for exploring on their own, but you could have students go through a trail together using the interactive whiteboard.  Give each student an opportunity help the class search for the location (the class can help or bring in a Google search for particularly difficult clues).  Each student can work out the math problem on their own and then come to a consensus of which answer to play in the game.

Tips: I wish that Math Trail provided a cheat sheet of all of questions in the game so that teachers could choose a trail for their students at-a-glance.  If anyone has done this, let us know where to find it!

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

Media 4 Math: Math in the News

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 10-12-2012

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What it is: Media 4 Math: Math in the News helps students view current events through the “prism of mathematics.”  Every week features a new story that makes headlines and the underlying mathematical story gets extracted.  The Math in the News site is a little bit confusing to navigate at first (it isn’t really clear where to find each issue of Math in the News).  Scroll down to see an archive of stories.  Each entry has a Slideshare version of the presentation, a YouTube version or the Math in the News app version.  These presentations are full lessons with embedded background knowledge articles and videos, data  sets, current event explanations and a walk through of how to solve.

In addition to Math in the News, Media 4 Math also has Math Tutorials, Promethean Flipcharts, Powerpoint slideshows, Math Labs, Print Resources, a Video Gallery, Math Solvers and more.  I really like the Math Solvers, students can choose a problem type, input their own data and see a breakdown of how to solve the problem.  The Math Labs include PDF worksheets and YouTube Videos that lead them through real-math problem sets.

How to integrate Media 4 Math: Math in the News into the classroom: Media 4 Math: Math in the News is a fantastic way to help your students make the connection between the upper-level math they are learning and life. I’m fairly certain that every math teacher in history has heard “what are we ever going to use this for?”  This site helps students not only see that math is everywhere, but also walks them through how to think mathematically.  There are plenty of resources that walk students through common mathematical functions.  This site is a great supplement to any math curriculum!

With new content weekly, your curriculum will be fresh and relevant!  Share Math in the News using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer, as a math center on classroom computers, individually with laptops or iPads, etc.   Flip your math class and have students explore a Math Tutorial to prepare them for the next day of learning.  Then they can test a few scenarios in Math Solvers and come up with their own explanation of the concept.  In class, students can work with you to solidify and practice the learning.

Tips: Sign up for the free weekly newsletter to have Math in the News delivered right to your inbox.  Do you have a classroom iPad?  Math in the News now has an app!

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

Yummy Math! Best Math Blog EVER

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Art, Evaluate, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 18-10-2012

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What it is:  Yummy Math is an absolutely fabulous blog/site dedicated to helping students and teachers understand how math is relevant to the world.  What a great mission!  The blog was started 2 years ago…bummed that I am only JUST discovering it.  Brian Marks and Leslie Lewis are the creators of Yummy Math.  They have worked together to make an easy way for teachers to bring real-world math into the classroom.  Math (like everything else) should be taught within a context.  I believe this is key!  When understood in context, students can make connections to their learning and, as a result, really learn it.  The goal here is to engage students in math so that they yearn to reason, think critically, problem solve, question and communicate…in short: DO math!  Each week, multiple activities and ideas are added to the Yummy Math site.  This means that you are in constant supply of real-world math problems for your students to engage in.

Categories include:

  • Algebra
  • Data and Probability
  • Geometry
  • Number Sense
  • Sports
  • Holidays/annual events
  • Math and Science
  • Math and Food
  • Math and Social Studies
  • Math and Art
  • Movies and Entertainment

How to integrate Yummy Math into the classroom: You know that dry math curriculum that you feel TRAPPED by?  Yummy Math exists to free you (and your students) from the endless memorization and unconnected practice.  This is the perfect supplement to any math program.  Use these activities a few times a week to really get your students thinking outside of the (math) box.  These will stretch your students, and help them grow exponentially in their understanding of math and all of the cool things it makes possible.

These are not your typical “real” world word problems.  None of that, if train a is traveling north at x, and train b is traveling south at y what time will they meet? Garbage.  This is…what is the real cost of owning an iPhone 5?   or  The House of Representatives passed a law in 2007 to increase the efficiency of light bulbs, what is the real energy savings that can be realized with CFL and LED.  Not only relevant, but really interesting!

Tips: You know what is EXTRA helpful?  That Yummy Math has already done all the leg work to tell you which Common Core Standards these project are meeting.  Yes. They are awesome!

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

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Maxwell for Google SketchUp

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Art, Create, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Software | Posted on 21-11-2011

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What it is:  If you aren’t familiar with Google SketchUp-you should probably start here and here.   SketchUp is an incredibly powerful, FREE 3D modeling software that lets your students create impressive 3D models.  Maxwell takes SketchUp to a WHOLE new level.  Maxwell for Google SketchUp brings students advanced rendering in an easy-to-use package for free.  The best part: Maxwell is fully integrated so that you don’t have to export or use an external application to render an image. Rendering happens in “real-time” so as your students are adjusting their SketchUp models, they can see the changes in Maxwell.  Maxwell is compatible with Windows and OSX!  With Maxwell students can create materials, set lights and cameras and render 3D scenes.  These are incredibly powerful tools…I cannot believe that they are free (I’m a little nervous to say that too loud in case they decide to change their minds!).

How to integrate Maxwell for Google SketchUp into the classroom: Maxwell takes student work in Google SketchUp and polishes it up to a professional level.  Truly, the results are akin to what the professionals turn out!  The SketchUp/Maxwell combination are wonderful for graphic art classes, math and geometry modeling, advertising lessons, engineering classes, architecture, science models, etc.

Don’t let the impressive results fool you, I’ve had 3rd grade students who made some amazing models using SketchUp.  I look forward to introducing them to the Maxwell plugin so that students can see their work come to life in ways that they couldn’t do before.

At Anastasis Academy, we have several students from 2nd through 8th grade who are extremely interested and passionate about architecture.  Google SketchUp is where I send them!  Students can plan, create and build.  Maxwell will allow them to visualize their creations in totally new ways.

I don’t understand why more schools don’t put these types of tools in the hands of students more often.  Exposing students to tools like this, gives them the opportunity to explore their passions and interests.  The tools are getting easier and easier to use and the number of tutorials is astonishing.  You (the teacher) don’t have to know how to use these tools inside and out, your job is to let your students know they exist, and help them find the resources to use them.  No excuses!

Tips: Using rendering tools teaches students about materials, light sources, shadows, etc.  Use Maxwell to teach students these science concepts!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Maxwell for Google SketchUp in  your classroom!

Brown Sharpie: Mathematical Cartoons Inspired by Sharpie Fumes

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Blogs, Create, Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 21-07-2011

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What it is: Math geeks, eat your heart out…Brown Sharpie is for you!  I found Brown Sharpie by accident today as I was perusing the app store in iTunes.  Brown Sharpie is a collection of “mathematical cartoons inspired by sharpie fumes” drawn by Courtney Gibbons.  Gibbons is an aspiring mathematician and the cartoons were created as she completed her undergraduate and graduate degree.  Many of the cartoons reference higher math and may be too complex to use in the k-8 classroom.  There are a few here and there that could be used with younger students with a little explanation.  High school, college math students and math geeks are the main demographic for these cartoons. The cartoons are shared blog-style so you can search through them using the “next” and “previous” buttons or you can view by tags using the “view by…” word cloud in the right side bar.

             

How to integrate Brown Sharpie into the classroom: The Brown Sharpie cartoons would be a fun start to math class.  Put a cartoon up on a projector-connected computer each day for a little math humor to kick off class.  The cartoons will give you the opportunity to discuss current math topics as well as give an introduction to math concepts not yet touched on.

Why not hold your own Brown Sharpie day?  Give each student a brown fine-tipped sharpie to create their own math cartoons?  These can be shared on a class blog, website or wiki.  This will help your visual learners and artists think about math in a whole new way!  Students of any age can create a Brown Sharpie cartoon of their own!

In addition to the blog, Brown Sharpie is also a free app in the iTunes app store.

Tips: Some of the cartoons are PG-13 with alcohol or relationship references.  Best to preview the cartoon before displaying before your class. :)

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

Study Jams!

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Math, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 03-11-2010

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What it is: Scholastic Study Jams is a fantastic collection of over 200 learning resource collections. Study Jams are videos, slide shows, and step by step explanations for science and math that will have your students discovering everything from invertebrates to the water cycle and the rule of divisibility.  Each Jam includes a teaching video/step-by-step/slide show, key vocabulary, and a test yourself section where they can practice what they have just learned.  Each Jam also suggests related jams where students can expand their learning and dig deeper on a subject.  To be honest, this is more like the textbook of the future that I envisioned.  I love that each concept is introduced in the context of a story.  Students learn the concept from fun Study Jam characters and can pause and rewind the learning as needed.  In the test yourself section, students can check for understanding and receive immediate feedback on their learning.

How to integrate Study Jams into your curriculum: Study Jams is a truly incredible collection of learning opportunities for students.  Use Jams to introduce your students to a new concept, or reinforce learning.  In Math students can learn about numbers, multiplication and division, addition and subtraction, fractions, decimals and percents, algebra, geometry, measurement, data analysis, probability, and problem solving.  Each topic has several sub-topics for students to explore.  In science topics include: plants, animals, the human body, ecosystems, landforms, rocks and minerals, weather and climate, solar system, matter, force and motion, energy, light, and sound, and scientific inquiry.  Again, each science topic has several sub-topics.

Study Jams can be used with your whole class as an anticipatory set for learning using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer.  After viewing the step-by-step, video, or slide-show check for understanding by having your students complete the “test yourself” as a class.  This can be done with personal whiteboards where students write down their answer and hold it up, a raise of hands, or student response systems (clickers).  Use this as formative assessment to guide your lesson.  Study Jams can also be used as a center activity in the math or science classroom.  Students can visit the Study Jam as part of a larger group of related activities.  In a center, students can visit individually or in small groups and self direct their learning.  For those students who have already mastered the concept, they can view related Study Jams to extend their learning.

Study Jams is ideal for students in a 1 to 1 or lab setting.  Here students can explore at their own pace, pausing and rewinding as necessary.  They can also extend their learning based on their personal interests by choosing a related Study Jam.

Can’t find a Study Jam that fits what your students are learning? Ask students to create their own Study Jam video, slide show or step by step.  Students can use tools like Animoto, Voice Thread, or Domo Animate to create their own.  Students can create their own “test yourself” using a Google Form or survey tool.

Tips: I learned about Study Jams from someone in my blogging alliance (sorry I didn’t make note of who!) If you aren’t already following these amazing blogs, I highly recommend them (alliance #1, alliance #2).  I learn SO much every day from each one of them.  If I learned about Study Jams from your blog, leave me a comment so I can thank you here!

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


Lucky Star Game Show for SMART boards

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Download, Fun & Games, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Math, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 08-10-2010

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What it is: Cyberchase is an animated math series on PBS Kids. Now, Cyberchase is making math even more fun with an interactive game show called Lucky Star.  The game show is a free download for the SMART Notebook software. Lucky Star was designed for kids in 3rd-5th grade.  The game show has kids competing for top scores while building important math skills.  Lucky Star has 150 questions that focus on problem solving, algebraic thinking, number and operations, geometry, measurement, and more.  The game show includes an on-screen think pad (a drop down area where students can work the problems with the pen.  The game show also includes some great virtual manipulatives that students can interact with on the interactive whiteboard.  Want more? Create your own questions tailored to your curriculum using the Cyberchase characters and props.  You can customize the game for your students needs.

How to integrate Lucky Star into your curriculum: Lucky Star is a fun way for your students to practice math. The ability to create your own questions that are tailored to your math curriculum means that this is game can be used all year. The game show makes for a great math warm up to get those brains thinking math.  Use Lucky Star as a fun class competition, split your students into teams for a little friendly math competition.  Your students will love the game show feel that Lucky Star has.  Any time I play games with my whole class, I really play it up.  Act the part of Game Show host and get into the game with your students.   Hold weekly competitions or semester long competitions to see who can get the top score.  Hold a fun math themed party for all of the “contestants” at the end of the competition.  When I taught second grade this meant bringing out all of the kids favorite math games and calling them by their class number all day instead of their names.  To mix it up, I might call on student number 10 by saying “I need 5+5 to line up third in line”.  It was a fun way to have fun with math and celebrate the hard work of all of my students.

Tips: I couldn’t get the Lucky Star Game Show download to open in ActivInspire (for Promethean) even using the Smart Notebook option.  I also couldn’t get the download to open in SMART Notebook’s interactive viewer. If anyone has a trick or luck with either of these let me know and I’ll update the post accordingly!

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

MathMovesU

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Evaluate, Knowledge (remember), Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 22-09-2010

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What it is: MathMovesU is an interactive virtual world where middle school students can interact with algebra, geometry, decimals, fractions, and word problems through topics they are passionate about like sports, music, and fashion.  As students navigate through MathMovesU they will encounter math problems delivered through games, polls, and fun facts.  The site is a great supplement to curriculum and will help students practice and improve their math skills in a fun, engaging manner.

How to integrate MathMovesU into the classroom: MathMovesU is an innovative approach to math practice that shows kids how math is used in real life.  As students explore the MathMovesU virtual world they will collect points by discovering math and tracking solutions.  This site truly encourages students to discover more, dig deeper and think critically about math.  Start your own MathMovesU class competition for the school year where students work to earn the most points.  MathMovesU is a great alternative to worksheet practice.  It is best to use MathMovesU in a one to one scenario where each student has their own computer to work on.  If a one to one experience isn’t possible, use classroom computers as a center.  Throughout the year students can rotate through the center to earn points and practice.

Tips: MathMovesU needs a robust network, the site is highly interactive but can crawl if you have a lab full of students accessing it at once.

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

Kids Numbers

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 22-10-2009

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What it is: Kids Numbers is a website from the Kids Knowit Network (they also have spelling, biology, history, etc. sites).  Kids Numbers is a free collection of resources for the math classroom.  Math skills include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, telling time, mixed skills, geometry, and Algebra.  When you select a skill to focus on, you will get a week by week break down of skills to practice and accompanying online games and activities.  There are games to play and mini tutorials to go through that will teach the foundational skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  Everything on Kids Numbers is research based and designed by teachers to increase your students math abilities.

How to integrate Kids Numbers into the classroom: I love the way the mini tutorials on Kids Numbers teach students foundational math skills.  They are easy to follow along and perfect for your visual learners. Throughout the tutorial students are asked to participate by counting, sorting, etc.  There are games aligned to each skill that act as a practice area for the skill.  This is a great site to keep on your classroom computers as a math center year-round.  Students can use Kids Numbers to learn new skills, review skills that have been taught, or practice skills that they are learning in the math classroom.  Kids Numbers could be an excellent homework helper for students who are getting hung up on the basics and need a little extra help.

Tips: Kids Numbers does have advertisements on their pages.  Help your students identify the advertisements and use this as a learning opportunity about what an ad is and what they are used for.  Identify the differences between advertisement links and game and activity links on the site.

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

iPlay Math Games

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 12-09-2009

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What it is: iPlay Math Games is an outstanding collection of printable math games for grades k-12.  Math games can be searched by grade level or skill.  These math games are printable pdf files and can be played with common items (dice, cards, and other manipulatives).  iPlay Math Games helps students build math skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, percents, algebra, long division, measurement, graphing and exponents, problem solving, puzzles and games, geometry, probability, reasoning, logic, numeration, patterns, and counting.

How to integrate iPlay Math Games into the classroom: iPlay Math Games is an excellent collection of printable math games that can be downloaded and printed out for the classroom.  Use these games as math center activities, and to reinforce math skills being learned.  These games are a great way for students to practice math skills sans worksheet.

Tips: iPlay Math Games has not always been a free resource, take advantage of the new free status!

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