Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I think we most math educators would agree that students need to communicate math more effectively. In order to achieve this goal, students need to understand the terminology related to the math concepts being taught. IMO, it is very difficult to learn math concepts without the vocabulary and terminology defined for them as they go through a concept. I have several resources to help with this endeavor.
My new crossword and word search puzzles are a great resource for building and honing students' math vocabulary skills. These new puzzles do NOT require any Java applets. All resources are interactive, engaging, and include a timer. Solutions are also provided.
Our online glossary has over 500 terms, each each with a related link to more information. Students can look up terms they are unfamiliar with for homework, or any time.
Of course, my in-depth lessons have always included definitions, In 1998, I was a pioneer of definition windows for math terminology as part of the instruction provided. The idea was to remove peer pressure from the classroom. Students are often afraid to ask questions, and the time to do so is not always available in a 40-minute class period. The unique design of my lessons gives students the option of viewing terms that may be unfamiliar to them. If a student is already familiar with a term, then the definition does not have to be viewed. This, and other elements of self-paced instruction I have designed, has helped students immensely over the years.
One nice way to tie all of this together is use Cooperative Learning Techniques. Instead of a teacher-directed lesson, students can discuss the problem they are working on. Perhaps they can even define unknown terminology for each other. For example, "What the heck is a trinomial, anyway?"
Monday, November 10, 2014
Students are most motivated to learn in September, at which time I recommend a technique known as front-loading. By introducing a new topic in September, students realize that you intend to challenge them. This sets the tone for the school year. However, as the holiday season approaches, students tend to get distracted and attendance might dip. This is a great time to review and spiral topics. Below are some resources to help you with this endeavor.
- My in-depth lessons, worksheets and games are great activities for reviewing and spiraling.
- Holiday math activities can also help students stay focused on learning. For example, my Veteran's Day Math and Thanksgiving Math activities.
- Shopping is a big holiday activity. You can connect it to math with my article on Shopping Goodies
Monday, April 21, 2014
The Metric System is a decimal system of measurement that was first devised in the late 1700s as a means of standardizing and simplifying the many weights and measures that existed at that time. It was introduced by France in 1799 as an International System of Units, known by the abbreviation SI, from the French "Système International" Although the Metric System is the International System of Measurement, the United States is one of the only countries (along with Liberia and Burma) that has not adopted the metric system officially. In fact, the U.S. is the only industrialized country that uses Customary Units.
People use customary units in daily life, while science, medicine, government, and many sectors of industry use metric units. This leads to a huge disconnect between society and science in the U.S. It underscores the need for metrication more than ever.
Many questions come to mind about this disparity of units between society and the scientific world.
- Is it possible that people are turned off by science and technology because they don’t understand the metric system?
- Could this make us less scientifically literate as a country?
- Wouldn’t it make sense for scientists and non-scientists to speak the same language?
- As a nation competing in a global market, is the US at a disadvantage by not using the International System of Measurement?
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Irrational WebQuest. Try our in-depth lesson on Circumference of a Circle. We will also have plenty of fun on Facebook, too. Come and celebrate with us!
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Students are most motivated to learn in September, at which time I recommend a technique known as front-loading. With this technique, a new topic is introduced that students have never seen before, such as Integers. However, as the holiday season approaches, students tend to get distracted and attendance might dip. This is a great time to review and spiral. Accordingly, I have included some resources below. You can differentiate the review by activity.
- To review all the basics, try my in-depth lessons on Fractions, Decimals and Percentages. You will also find other topics here.
- For students that just need a little extra practice, try my worksheets, games and puzzles.
- For those who need a challenge, try my WebQuests.
For more teaching tips and ideas, see this page.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
One day a colleague sent me some links to open number line resources. An open number line is number line with no numbers or tick marks. At first glance, the open number line was being used to solve simple addition problems with jumps to the right on the number line, or simple subtraction problems with jumps to the left. Students first needed to decompose the numbers being added or subtracted. For example, to add the number 37, one might jump 30 to the right, then 7 to the right. To subtract the number 21, one might jump 10 to the left, another 10 to the left, then 1 to the left.
After researching this topic further, I discovered that open number lines allow students to use many different mental math strategies to solve the same problem. Students could jump to the left, right, or in both directions to solve a simple addition problem. (The same was true for subtraction.) Thus, each student could solve the same problem in different ways. For example, a student could jump 40 to the right, then 3 to the left in order to add the number 37.
I am now smitten by open number lines! This open-ended model is a ground-breaking way to approach addition and subtraction for students of all abilities and students with special needs! It also makes use of place value skills. There is no longer only one way to add and one way to subtract. Open number lines provide unlimited opportunities for learning!
The use of open number lines facilitates number sense development and fluency in computational skills. Students learn to think flexibly about numbers and the strategies they use to solve problems. I hope to design an interactive open number line game in the near future.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Has anyone ever told you "Happy Mathgiving"? It might capture the attention of your class around Thanksgiving. Kids are usually quite distracted as the long, holiday weekend approaches. Thanksgiving math activities are a fun way to keep kids interested in math. Here are some resources to help you celebrate. Most of these resources connect math with Thanksgiving. However, my personal favorite is the Spiked Math Comic, since it gives thanks for career connections to mathematics. Learn more.
Monday, November 04, 2013
Veterans Day is an official United States holiday which honors people who have served in armed service. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. I wanted to give tribute to the service of all U.S. military veterans by creating a Veteran's Day Math page. So I began to search for math-related activities. To my surprise, I had trouble finding them.
This holiday seems to lends itself nicely to history, literacy and social studies. But math was a real challenge. My persistence paid off as I was able to find a few sites that offered real math activities related to Veteran's Day. You can view them at this page.