DragonBox Math Apps: Teaching students to think like mathematicians

DragonBox Math Apps: Teaching studentst to think like a mathematician

What it is: I adore the DragonBox math apps! I was first introduced to DragonBox through their Algebra app. The app takes away all math anxiety by teaching algebraic concepts without numbers or algorithms. It is genius! You can read my review of that app here. DragonBox Numbers is for kids who are new to numbers, counting, addition, and subtraction. DragonBox BIG Numbers is the next level app of Dragon Box Numbers. As they play, children learn about how big numbers work, and how to perform long addition and subtraction. In DragonBox Elements, students will secretly learn geometry. By playing 100+ puzzles, kids will gain a deep understanding of the logic of geometry. As they play, students will actually be recreating the mathematical proofs that define geometry. What I love about the DragonBox suite of math games is that they are unlike any other math apps. You won’t find mindless repetitions and quizzes of math facts, instead, these games help teach students how to think like mathematicians. This is learning math through exploration.

How to integrate Dragon Box math apps into your classroom: The DragonBox math apps take advantage of a student’s innate curiosity through play and exploration of math concepts. Each game engages students through exploration, reflection, and application.  If you have a 1:1 iPad classroom, use these apps daily! Students can play a game, and then come together as a class to reflect and write down the rules they have learned in that “chapter.” Then, take an equation from the game and solve it on paper. See if students can connect the cards and rules of the game to the equations on paper. Solve the equations using strategies and rules from the game.

In a one or two device classroom, play DragonBox as a class by connecting your device to a projector. Explore the rules together and let students take turns being in charge of a chapter. Review rules and make connections as a class. Set up DragonBox as a math center that students can visit in a rotation where one center is interacting with the game, the next is an opportunity to record rules learned and reflect, and the last is application of the rules to an equation.

Be sure to check out the DragonBox for educators where you can download teachers guides and printable resources for each game in the DragonBox math suite. You’ll also find a great “rules” guide for the algebra and geometry games.

These are seriously my favorite math apps of all time! They encourage kids who can think and apply like mathematicians rather than kids who simply memorize a formula. DragonBox creates a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and number relationships.

Tips: While the DragonBox suite of math apps aren’t free, you can purchase them at a deep discount for educational institutions and bulk purchases. Teachers, you can get access for free to make sure that the apps are right before committing to a purchase for your students. You can also purchase apps in bundles.

Eliademy: Democratizing education with technology

ilearn Technology: Eliademy- Democratizing education with technology

What it is: Eliademy has a wonderful mission of democratizing education with technology.  The tool makes it easy for anyone to create an online classroom, for free!  Eliademy makes it easy for educators to create, share and manage courses.  Eliademy is a free learning management system and course content created by you.  Educators can engage students through discussion boards, videos, images, news feeds, visual notifications and calendar with a fast and easy to use interface.  Eliademy is available everywhere: Mac, PC, tablet, smart phone. Very handy!  Even better, you can create a course from your tablet (not available in a lot of LMS/online classroom options).

How to integrate Eliademy into your classroom: Eliademy isn’t just for offering distance-learning.  It is a great way to connect your students in new and awesome ways in a blended-learning environment.  Keep all of your digital classroom resources in one, easy-to access place.  Make sure that your students can always be connected to what is happening in class with a shared calendar. Extend classroom discussions with discussion boards, video, and news feeds.

I’ve long been a fan of blending online experiences with offline.  Students begin to see that learning can happen anywhere, not just in your classroom.  They also connect in different ways online.  I’ve found that kids are willing to have deeper, more vulnerable conversations in an online environment.  This is especially true when the relationships are established first in the classroom.

Host your “flipped” materials using Eliademy.  Not only can students access video, they can extend the experience with access to additional classroom materials, the ability to discuss and share resources online, etc.

Challenge students to create their own course to share.  What are they passionate about?  What can they offer to teach others?

Tips: Eliademy makes the promise that it will always be secure, without advertisements, and free.  Outstanding.

What do you think of Eliademy?  How do you plan to use it in your classroom?

Algebra in the Real World movies

What it is:  The higher up I got in math, the less connection I could make back to it’s usefulness in real life.  I had math mastered in school, I could memorize the formulas and spit back out the steps to get straight A’s in algebra, geometry, calculus and even trig.  It wasn’t until I was watching the Social Network movie (as an adult) that I started connecting that higher math to purposes in real life.  That is a problem.  Remember the scene in the Social Network when Zuckerberg is writing algorithms on his window?  I saw that, looked at my husband in astonishment and whispered “I learned that!”.  I had NO idea that trig was actually used for anything.  Seriously.  That is why when I saw Algebra in the Real World movies on Karl Fisch’s Fischbowl blog, I knew it was a site that needed to be shared again.  Algebra in the Real World has mini documentary type films that show the ways that Algebra is used in a variety of jobs and real world scenarios.  Movies include:
  • Aquarium makers
  • Backpack designers
  • Designing stronger skateboards
  • Engineering faster bikes
  • First one in the ball park
  • The forester
  • Landscape architects
  • The Lundberg farms
  • Maglev trains
  • Reliable Robots
  • Roller Coasters
  • Saving the bald eagle
  • Solar power
  • The starshade
  • Structural engineering
  • The surface of Mars
  • Testing the robotic hand
  • The wind business
  • Windsails

Plenty of variety to help students with a variety of interests!

How to integrate Algebra in the Real World movies into the classroom: After seeing the Social Network, I wanted to go back to my high school trigonometry class so that I could connect the dots.  I always really appreciated my physics class because it gave meaning to the algebra classes that I took.  I like that these videos help to make connections between the equations students learn and their uses.  It is nice to have such a good mix of topics so that students with different interests and passions can find one that helps them make the connection.
These videos would be great to share with a whole class as the algebra topic connected with the video is introduced, at the beginning of the school year, or based on student interest level.  Use as an end of the year cap to connect what has been learned throughout the year with the use post classroom.
Tips: The Algebra in the Real World movies are available online or for purchase on DVD.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Algebra in the Real World movies in  your classroom!

Web 2.0 Library

What it is: Many of us are heading into the summer vacation months, a time when our non-education friends and family view us with envy over our “2 month break”.  I don’t know about you, but I NEVER had a summer where I wasn’t working on education in some capacity.  Summer is a time to prepare for the next school year, dream up new projects and explore all of those things we didn’t have time for during the school year.  Web 2.0 Library is a fun one to explore this summer for some new resources for your classroom tech tool box.  Find web tools that will help teachers and students connect, collaborate and create.  When you choose a topic, you will be taken to a login page.  Click “login as guest” to proceed.  Icons accompany each tool that offer additional understanding for each tool.  The i give more information about how to use the tool, the @ gives activities that can be done using the tool and the video icon includes a video that teaches more about the tool.

How to integrate Web 2.0 Library into the classroom: Web 2.0 Library is a great one-stop shop for Web 2.0 tools that can be used in the classroom.  These tools are well organized and the supporting information makes it a snap to find the perfect tool for your classroom.  Quickly get ideas for activities, get more information about the tool and view a video about the tool.  You are sure to find some new goodies that can make your classroom more connected and creative!

Tips: Don’t forget to login as “guest” to access all of the web 2.0 goodness.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  Web 2.0 Library  in your classroom!

Skype Classroom Directory- Global Collaboration #glolab

What it is: Skype is an incredible tool.  It is a free download that allows you to video chat with anyone in the world (who also has Skype downloaded) for free.  Teachers have been using Skype in the classroom for years now to connect to other classrooms, to connect with experts, and even to introduce their students to favorite authors (Skype an author).  There is a new tool coming for education, a Skype classroom directory.  This directory will connect teachers and help them to use Skype to enrich students’ educational experiences.  The directory will be launching in December (English only) but you can pre-register for it now.  Once you sign up with your Skype account, you will be able to search for other teachers and classes by searching by subject or region.

How to integrate Skype Classroom Directory into your curriculum: Skype Classroom Directory will be a leap forward in connecting teachers and classrooms around the world.  Use Skype to connect your students to others around the world who are learning similar content, for a debate, for an inquiry unit, to teach and learn from each other, to connect with experts, for a global virtual book club, or just to bring some cultural richness into your classroom.

Tips: Yesterday the topic of the first #edchat (a chat on Twitter) was global collaboration.  Skype is an excellent way to collaborate globally.  The Skype directory will be an enormous help in connecting teachers on global projects, right now there isn’t a great way for teachers to connect purposefully for global projects.  As it stands, you send out a tweet request for help and wait for someone to answer.  Yesterday on #edchat I proposed that we come up with a Twitter hash tag to use when we are talking about global collaboration tools or opportunities.  Anyone looking for someone to connect with can just search the hash tag #glolab.  If you are looking for teachers to collaborate use and search the #glolab hash tag to connect.

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