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Freebee Friday: Math by the Bits and Bytes

Nea stemThe National Education Association is more than a union and lobby group for teachers. It’s a source of top-level curriculum, like its top 10 STEM resources. With everything from the Exploratorium Museum and Kinetic City to Master Tools (one of my favs) and Engineer for Life, there’s something for every age group and proficiency level. The bonus is that on top of seven classroom sites, there’re four sites dedicated to professional development. Any and all are just plain fun to use and teach with.


Freebee Friday: Math at Home and School

Home school mathAlthough it was designed to help home-schooled children excel at math, Homeschoolmath is a great resource for remedial and enrichment activities. It’s aimed at K-through-8th grades, has lots of different items and tops out with a pre-calculus curriculum. The best part is the multitude of problems that the site includes for practice or review.

Making Math More Fun

SkymathSkyMath is a new iPad platform (sorry, Android schools), that puts the fun into math with a series of interactive educational games aimed at getting kids excited about numbers, math operations and thinking through problems. The service starts with a diagnostic assessment and then the student picks an animal avatar to navigate through SkyMath. Meanwhile, the service picks from among thousands of apps and videos that are available online to curate the best progression for each student. The service is an ad-free zone and students can earn prizes along the way towards mastering their skills.


Easy as 1,2,3

SkymathLearning math can be fun with Sky Math’s new app. It provides an initial diagnostic test and then access to some of the Web’s best math software and instructional videos, which have been categorized by age and learning level. Many of the apps are free while the others cost between $1 and $4. Based on the test, each child gets a personalized plan and can pick her own avatar that accompanies her along the way. The app keeps score along the way to show her progress.


Freebee Friday: Animating Math

ImgurPush the blackboard aside for describing math and functions because the Imgur Web site has 23 very cool animated .Gifs that each show a different area of math. There are demonstrations the relationship between sine and cosine, tracing a sinusoidal spiral and rotating a trigonometric function. My favorite is a sequence that shows the proof of how the Pythagorean Theorem works.


Practice Makes Perfect

Splash mathNothing works in early math classrooms more than lots of practice for the basic operations and SplashMath can make repetition anything but boring. That’s because the program individualizes the problems it serves up so that they’re always what the student needs and none are repeated. It’s aimed at K-through-5th grade classrooms, can work on iPads, Androids, Chromebooks and any computer. SplashMath is a free service, but the premium version includes state standards alignment.


Freebee Friday: Count on Games

MatificOne of the best ways to teach math that sticks is to trick kids into playing games that stress counting, adding, and other arithmetic skills. Matific is a new site that starts with numbers and works up to more difficult skills and concepts. The site has thousands of activities so that teachers can concentrate on actual teaching first through sixth graders. There’s a nice dashboard for showing student progress, teachers can try it out for 30-days for free and between now and September 30th, the company is giving away everything from Chromebooks to gift cards to get school supplies.

Freebee Friday: Math on the Cheap

5The CK-12 Foundation has provided excellent curriculum items, but none can compare to its K-through-5th grade math practice app.  Because it’s delivered online through a browser window, it will work on just about any connected computer – old or new. It delivers a multitude of math problems and is organized by grade and subject matter as well as being Common-Core aligned. It has practice on everything from basic operations to telling time, geometric figures and measurement. It starts with an instructional video, followed by practice problems to warm up the students’ minds, and then a comprehensive quiz.



Freebee Friday: Making Sense of Common Core Math

Tabtor math ebookThere’s probably little said at math faculty meetings that doesn’t in one way or another relate to the Common Core standards and how they’re going to be met. Tabtor can help with “A Guide to Surviving Middle School Math: Grade 7 Math and Practice Worksheet.” The free 27-page ebook includes teaching tips, confidence-building ideas, real world problems as well as five worksheets that can help kids master the complex concepts needed for advanced math. 



Count by Legos

45210_350x350_1_xx-xxIf your school’s early educational math manipulative items are worn out or starting to look dated, Lego has a tactile way to teach basic math. The MoreToMath 1-2 Curriculum pack is aimed at first and second graders and includes 521 Lego bricks that kids play with while larning their numbers and basic skills. The set comes with software, a book of 48 activities with images, assembly instructions and a sample Q&A section for interacting with students. There are interactive-whiteboard based lessons and a nice checklist for the teacher to record student progress.

45210_350x350_3_xx-xxThe set’s activities typically take between 30 and 45 minutes and involve creating scenes of baking, counting flowers and shopping that make the abstract concepts of counting, basic math operations and problem solving come alive. None, however, bring in calculators. While its early learner focus is commendable, there should be a version for the increasing Kindergarten and pre-K classes that schools are offering, maybe using the larger Duplo pieces. The $830 Lego set includes enough pieces for twelve groups of two. It can be pre-ordered for delivery in early 2015.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tools are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.