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.

Which One Doesn’t Belong? K-12 Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Which One Doesn't Belong? Math sets

What it is: Which One Doesn’t Belong? is a site I learned about from @TeamBaldwin today. This math site is for students of all ages and challenges them to look at a set of four images and determine which image doesn’t belong and justify their answer. The best part of this site is that each problem has multiple correct responses that can be justified. Students have to think through the differences that they see and then make logical decisions and be able to explain it to others. There are three different categories for Which One Doesn’t Belong including: Shapes, Numbers, Graphs and Equations.

How to Integrate Which One Doesn’t Belong? in your classroom: My favorite part about this site is that there are multiple answers for each set. Students can see how perspective and which attributes you are looking at can change the answer. The site is a great catalyst for critical thinking and problem solving in math (or any) class. Put a problem set up on a projector as a math class starter and ask your students to independently choose their answer and be ready to justify it. Then, as a class, discuss answers. After students have done this once, challenge them to find as many possible answers as they can independently before sharing responses. This site would be a great tie-in with the humanities to discuss perspective and vantage point. Even in something that feels as static as math, perspective can actually make any problem quite dynamic.

Yesterday, @TeamBaldwin used the site this way:

Which One Doesn't Belong? Math setsWhich One Doesn't Belong? Math setsWhich One Doesn't Belong? Math sets

This is a class of kindergarten and first grade students! @michellek107 will be blogging more about the class experience on the class blog, Architects of Wonder if you’d like to read more.

Tips: The graphs and equations appear quite challenging, but even young students can begin making observations about the types of graphs that could lead to some higher-level math discussions.

Living Math Book List: Fiction for (almost) every math concept

Happy New Year!!  You may have noticed…I took a tech break for the holidays!  There may not have been an abundance of posts and sharing happening, but I was still collecting away and have more resources than ever to share in 2012.  Thank you all for making my 2011 such a wonderful year to be a part of!

What it is:  You know what I love?  Reading and books. Particularly fiction.  Living Math Book List is a fantastic site that introduces books (mostly fiction) for every math concept (okay, almost every math concept!).  The site is SO easy to use, just click on the “Search categories” tab and choose the math topic your students are working on.  A list of books with links to Amazon is at the ready.  The site is being updated regularly so new books pop into the different categories on occasion.  Isn’t it great to stumble on a new jem-of-a-book that you can use in your classroom? I love teaching through story, and Living Math Book List makes it easy to bring stories into your math class.  Including books in math gives students who struggle with math concepts a new vantage point and understanding.  It makes math meaningful by showing students why they learn the math concepts they do and how math really is all around us.  You have to love that!  Topics include: addition, angles, area, calendars, capacity, combinations, comparisons, counting, skip counting, data collection, division, doubling numbers, equal sets, equations, estimation, even/odd, fractions, graphing, making predictions, matching, measurement, metrics, money, multiplication, negative numbers, opposites, ordinal numbers, patterns, percentages, perimeter, place value, positional words, probability, problem solving, proportions, ratio, reading a schedule, regrouping, rounding, sequences, shapes, sizes, sorting, subtraction, symmetry, time, and weight.  So yeah, something for everyone!
How to integrate Living Math Book List into the classroom:  As I said, I am a big fan of reading and books.  Any time you can tie learning back to story is a win in my book.  Use the books you find on Living Math Book List to introduce new concepts, to enrich students interaction with a concept, as a launching point for writing their own math-related fiction, or just to expose students to a new way of thinking about the math they are learning.  The books make a great classroom read-aloud or can be used as a math center during a unit.
At Anastasis Academy, we made sure to have plenty of these types of math books available to students during silent reading.  They really enjoy reading them with a partner and pointing out the math concepts they recognize along the way.

Tips: Embed the link to Living Math Book List on your class website or blog, this will make it easy for you, and your students, to find math-related books any time.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Living Book List in  your classroom!

Math Snacks

math snacks logo

What it is: Math Snacks is my new favorite teaching resource for math!  Math Snacks are animated videos and games that help students understand math concepts.  Each “snack” offers a math concept that students can learn, review, and practice.  The snacks are available online or can be accessed for free on a mobile device like the iPhone or iPod.  The snacks focus on math concepts that are appropriate for 5th-8th grade.  Print materials are available that can be used to help students in applying their conceptual understanding to math problems.  Concepts on Math Snacks include ratios, proportions, scale, number line properties, equality and order on the number line, tables, graphs, measurement, and equations.

How to integrate Math Snacks into the classroom: Math Snacks is a fun way for students to visualize difficult to understand math concepts.  There are short humorous videos that demonstrate the math concept in action.  These videos can be viewed as an introduction to a new concept or as practice and review of learning.  The videos can be paused for class discussion about the concept and for solving of problems.  All videos are available for viewing online and can be downloaded to an iPod.  Some of the iPod downloads also include subtitles.  Each video also comes with a learner and teacher guide.  Print these guides to direct you in discussion throughout the video and activities.

Tips: A huge THANK YOU to @summersj who introduced me to Math Snacks via Twitter!

Leave a comment and share how you are using Math Snacks in your classroom.