I recently saw this video come up in my Twitter Feed. It is about a group of teenagers who are working on a project for Abbott Labs, and the story of their teacher who realizes that after working on this Real-World Problem, that the students will never be able to learn the same way ever again. Meaning, in the traditional sense, without the technology and virtual tools. I understand where the teacher is coming from. But as an educator, I don’t think it should take a project from Abbott Labs for us to realize this. We need to realize this now. We need to revolutionize learning for our students now. We need to take action before its too late.
Here’s a sample lesson on Percent Increase and Decrease designed for a 52-minute Pre-Algebra class.
1. Start by watching the video on ‘Percent Increase’. Make sure that students have the handout so that they don’t have to write down the application problem.
2. Have students work on the two ‘Group Work’ problems on percent increase.
3. Follow the same process for ‘Percent Decrease’.
4. Have the students do the Percent Increase and Decrease ‘Matching Activity’. You need to have the tiles cut apart for them already. If there is not enough time to complete this in class (There usually isn’t), suggest that the students take the activity home. If you wish, have the students bring the completed matches back to the next class for credit.
A Sample Lesson on Solving a System of Equations with Two Unknowns
Before you begin, you may want to print the summary sheet below for reference. The sheet happens to have a major typo, but I think that it’s usually fun for the students to discover it themselves. I’ve been generous enough to correct the typo.
Start out by watching this introductory video about solving an application problem using the addition method. I recommend printing out the handout of what is covered in the video so that you can take notes as you follow along.
Go to Wolfram|Alpha and make sure that you know how to enter systems of equations there so that you can check your answer using this wonderful tool whenever you are at a computer. Or even on the go, if you have a smartphone.
2. McGraw Hill Game Zone Resources – This website is full of wonderful games that can be used in the classroom, such as this Measurement Relay Game. Essentially, this is one of those ‘I Have. Who Has?” Activities. But what I like to do with them is cut them out and have the students put the questions and answers together in domino-style format. The students really seem to enjoy this for the most part, it’s less chaotic than having everyone run around the room all at the same time, and it’s conducive to having the students work in small groups.
3. Ratio and Proportion weblinks – This is a list of weblinks that I found from Mathmammoth. If you hunt around their website long enough, you will also find a list of Integer weblinks, among others. I think tha these lists of weblinks would be perfect places to start in putting together a spectacular Web Quest for students. There were definitely resources on there that I hadn’t heard about in the past.
4. BBC Podcasts: A Brief History of Mathematics – Let me just say this… don’t you just love the British? And if a British Podcast doesn’t float your boat, try looking at some videos over at EduTube, this video of a math teacher rapping. Hey, it’s not great compared to some of the impromptu songs that I’ve sung during my classes in order to keep my students interested in the lessons. I’m a big fan of keeping students engaged in the classroom.
5. [removed by request]
6. Best Free Online Applications and Services – This is really great not only because I haven’t heard of many of these resources before, but because they are all on-line. This eliminates the need for pesky downloads and making sure that applications are compatible with various operating systems. I also liked that Wolfram Alpha is highlighted as being the Best Free Online Answer Engine. Any list that gives a shoutout to Wolfram Alpha is a respectable list in my book.
7. The History, Use, and Abuse of QR Codes – This is a fairly in-depth Slideshare that I found helpful in my quest to eventually integrate QR Codes into my teaching. I’m really thinking about putting QR codes on my syllabus, and homework assignments from now on just to try to alleviate some of the complaints that I often get from students about not being able to find an assignment that I’ve posted on the web. And by having to put the assignment on the web before even passing it out, I will also know that I haven’t sent students to a web resource that I might have actually forgotten to post. (It’s happened!)
8. 20 Free Web Apps for the 2.0 Student – I don’t think that all of these will work for every student, but there are a few good resources on the list that I would recommend for everyone, such as Phone Evite, a website that allows you to send out mass voicemails; Mikogo, a website that allows for remote desktop sharing; and Mint, free personal finance software. I’m actually considering using Mint myself since it’s part of the Intuit Brand, which I already highly respect since I’ve been using TurboTax for several years now.
Sometimes I wonder how many people actually find this more annoying than useful.
1. Maple Worksheets for Calculus – In addition to the Applets which I previously posted about, there St. Louis University also has a series of Maple Worksheets for Calculus that could prove to be useful. That is, if Maple is your thing.
3. Using Wolfram Alpha in a Calculus Class and Google Guides Calculator Shortcuts are just two reminders of the fact that we need to continue to remind our students that these tools are available for their use. First of all, I think it is completely unfair as an educator to not tell students about these resources. Second of all, if some students know about the resources, but others don't, not all students are on a equal playing field. Learning is a supposed to be a fair process.
4. If you go to Math6.org's Black Line Master's page and click on the 'Computation' button on the left side of the page, you will be taken to a page of Computation Drill Strips. One day last week I used the LCM/GCF Drill. I cut it up into strips and had groups within the class compete against each other. They were so excited about it that they wanted to take the strips that we didn't use home for extra practice.
5. 7 of the Best On-line Collaborative Drawing Tools and Join.Me – Although I haven't checked all of them out yet, I can totally see how having on-line collaborative drawing tools would be great for working with students at a distance. And Join.Me might help also, as it is a FREE remote assistance screen sharing and remote control APP.
6. Big Free Clock – This is a direct download link to one of the best clocks I have ever seen to use in the classroom. I have used it often when using timed games/activities in the classroom, or when I have given group exams in large auditoriums without a clock, and wanted to project the time for the students.
7. NeoK12 – Science, math, social studies, history, geography and other educational videos, lessons, quizzes and educational games that make learning fun and interesting. I wasn't sure about using this website at first, but then after more careful inspection, I realized that I really do find it useful that the videos are organized by topic rather than just doing a random search on YouTube.
8. Math Nook – Very cool, free educational and fun online math games. Games target math vocabulary, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division , fractions, and other math skills. There is a really loud noise every time you first load the page, so don't be alarmed. I really thought Factor Dog was really intense. Just wait until the dogs start coming really fast.
9. ProBoards and Wallwisher are both unique in their own ways. ProBoards is a tool to create free on-line discussion forums. I know, most Learning Management Systems already have some form of discussion board built in, but I can see this being useful because the look can be customized to be more appealing. Wallwisher is an on-line notice wall maker. This could be useful if you want to collaborate with students in a different way such that everyone's updates and messages could appear all in one place.
10. xtranormal – Essentially their slogan is, "If you can type, you can make movies". Actually, I've seen some of their videos floating around the web for about the last month or so without even realizing it. I've thought that the videos were really great every time, and wish that I could make them myself, and now I know how. I will definitely be experimenting with this in the weeks to come.
Here’s a recap of the links that I’ve posted on Twitter over the past week or so:
1. A friend told me that she used this Divisibility Rocks game from over at The Utah Education Network with her Developmental Math students and that it worked really well. It turns out that they have plenty of other great lesson plans as well.
2. Z-Type is a very intense typing game. It turns out that as a Math Instructor, I do have to teach typing, computer, and writing skills as well. For example: One student told me just today that he couldn’t write a paper for my class about an African American Mathematician because he hadn’t had an English class yet.
3. NightMare is an example of a 25-word story. I’m considering having my students write their own 25 word stories about a concept in mathematics. This would be good introductory video to show to students, though, because it is absolutely hilarious! It’s one of the best laughs that I have had in a really, really long time.
4. 100 Ideas for Data Projector and Document Camera – Well, yeah, these ideas really are for my friends who still want to teach like they’re still in the 19th century. And even if you’re already using the document camera, I’m sure that you can’t think of 100 ideas. Well, maybe you can.
5. Times Attack is an awesome multiplication game that takes over the top spot for me as my favorite multiplication game ever! And let me tell you, I learned so much from the hour I played this game just about the world of video games. I was just as frustrated with figuring out how to navigate as I am sure a student would be with doing the multiplication.
6. Math Illustrations is a new program that I just found out about for drawing mathematical figures that I really think that you will like once you watch the tutorial video on this page. It is so great that I am really considering the $59 fee to buy this program because I think it would make my life a lot easier in the long run. And the Word Drawing tools suck, especially for number lines.
7. NCTM Black History Month Resources – It’s Black History Month and I am trying to incorporate some lessons into my curriculum. I found these resources to be extremely helpful. I am even going to check the recommended book out from my library to read over the next month or so. I checked already and it is indeed one of the books that they have!
8. E-Learning Tools for Schools and Education is a Mindomo Mind Map with hundreds of wonderful resources for E-learning. There are a lot of tools that I thought were regrettably left off the list as well. However, I know that there are plenty of resources on the list that I have yet to explore. I hope that you have time to explore some of them as well and to find what will work best for you.
9. Math Wordles – I have talked about Wordles on this site plenty of times in the past and this activity just reminded me of the fact that there are so many things that can be done with a Wordle. My plan is to develop a modified version of this activity in the near future to use with one of my classes. As described, I think this could be a great activity for Math Anxiety toward the beginning of a semester.
10. On-line LaTeX Equation Editor – I think LaTeX is so easy for entering equations, and I especially love how in the newer versions of Word I can type LaTeX code directly into Equation Editor. However, even that bridge until the next time I can use LaTeX is not enough. I can see this on-line tool being a great use to some people.
There have been at least 3 times in the last week when I have showed a colleague this website and have gotten a surprised look of, “Where did you get all of these ideas?” When I tell people that Twitter feeds a majority of my inspiration to go looking for things, they start listening. But no one ever really seems to follow through by actually signing up for Twitter. From what I can tell, it is a slight fear of just not knowing enough. So, here I’m sharing a few links and videos to help people get in the Twitter mood -