Technology=Math Success
By Harry Grover Tuttle
February 15, 2008
URL:
http://www.techlearning.com/showArticle.php?articleID=196605005
from Technology & Learning
There are plenty of online resources to help students solve math problems.
Technology can support the study of math in a variety of ways. Below is a sampling of resources to benefit the math classroom.
Calculate profit and loss with ClassBrain's Lemonade Stand Game.

Elementary
Students enter an interactive mathematical environment when they use
simulations such as ClassBrain's Lemonade Stand Game. Players begin
with money, decide how much to spend and to charge, and how many
glasses of lemonade they will make based on the weather forecast. The
program tracks the students' earnings or losses.
Kids can also solve problems based on what's going on in their own
communities. The National Math Trail spearheads this practice for
schools across the country. For example, at Hillcrest Elementary, in
Ellsworth, WI, students base their math problems what's going on in
their own village, including on their playground and at the local
cheesecurd factory.
Young students get help understanding abstract concepts when they
visualize data using the National Council of Teachers of Math
Illuminations Bar Grapher, which introduces students to its online
graphing program where students can compare data and begin to
transition to abstract representations.
As elementary math teachers need worksheets for standardspractice,
they can go to an online site such as Teachnology.com, where primary
teachers can find worksheets on visual math for comparing groups and
identifying differences.
Middle School
Sometimes middle school students need stepbystep scaffolding as they
try to solve addition, division, or ratio word problems. As students do
a ratio problem in Math Playground's Thinking Blocks, for example,
they're provided with structured assistance with hints and moveable
blocks.
Middle school students, in small groups, become engaged in combined
math/science problems they solve in 30 minutes. HotMath includes
diverse math learning challenges in angles, symmetry, scale drawing,
and balance algebra, for example.
Students can demonstrate their understanding of shapes through the
use of digitalconcept map programs such as Inspiration. A teacher
gives his students a concept map of shapes and shape categories
(rhombus, square, equilateral, for instance). The students move the
shapes around to show the relationships.
Students learn reallife math as they collect information about
recycling from the school cafeteria and share that information via
videoconference with another class doing the same research. Each class
reports on the numbers of students who bring lunch from home.
Furthermore, they report on the amount of paper bags, plastic bags,
paper napkins, plastic silverware, and food containers that are tossed.
The classes share data, compare graphs, and figure out what it means in
terms of school pollution, while considering strategies to reduce the
cafeteria trash pollution.
High School
Math becomes physical for high school students when they use a
sciencemotiondetector probe to create a linear algebra graph as they
walk from one point to another. The students experiment with how to
change the variables of distance and speed. They see the graph changing
as they modify one of the variables, gaining realtime verification of
their math knowledge.
Students explore complex math based on their communities when they
do a WebQuest such as Womick's A Functional Housing Market, in which
students derive a linear regression from their data, answer questions
on the average cost per square foot, land values, and then predict the
cost of different homes.
High school students can better understand how number theories relate to actual events by watching the Numb3rs
TV show which the teacher can tape for the "number" segments. Some
small math segments are also available on YouTube, by searching for Numb3rs.
Sometimes math students know they need help, but they do not want to
ask the teacher. They can go to S.0.S. Math, which has tutorials that
often include practice lessons.
If students want to check any math answers to see if their logic is
correct, they can go to QuickMath, which instantly provides them with
the answer. For example, if students are not sure about a "joining the
fractions" problem, they go to the Algebra/Join Fractions section, type
in their problem of 1/5 + 2/10 + 1/20, and see the answer of 9/20. If
they don't have that answer, they can rework the problem.
Through class Web sites, blogs or wikis, teachers can communicate
the math standards, the goals needed to achieve the standards, homework
assignments, projects, tests, and helpful Web sites for parents and
students. The online site becomes an extension of the class.
Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed.D., is a consultant.

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