Making Math Meaningful and Relevant and Learners Taking Charge of Their Learning (Combined Topics)
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# Making Math Meaningful and Relevant and Learners Taking Charge of Their Learning (Combined Topics)

Combination of 2 Scoop.It! newspapers: 1) Making Math Meaningful and Relevant and 2) Learners Taking Charge of Their Learning
Curated by Todd Parker
 Scooped by Todd Parker

## Virtual Manipulatives: Fraction Tiles | TeachBytes

For the past few weeks I've seen our sixth grade students practice fractions in a multitude of ways. From using the clock as a model to dividing up pizza pies, students have been working with a variety of manipulatives to ...
Todd Parker's insight:

This is a virtual manipulatives site.  These are more and more common.  The reason for this is that laptops for every student in the classroom are becoming more and more common.  Here they are talking about fractions.  By chance, my class just finished fractions (for now).  We used manipulatives in the classroom and let me tell you- it was a mess.  Pieces were falling everywhere, people had incomplete sets that made it difficult to illustrate the problem, and fifth graders like to occasionally use them as projectiles.  One way to avoid the need for helmets in the classroom is to use virtual manipulatives like those provided on this site.  You never lose a piece, nobody ever gets hit by a piece, and all sets are always complete.  There are two other advantages,  Teachers can cleanly and clearly use them on the Smartboard and the fun doesn't have to stop at school.  The students can use these resources during study and homework outside of the confines of the classroom.  This provides readily accessible tools for the students whenever and wherever.

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## National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

A digital library containing Java applets and activities for K-12 mathematics

Via John Dalziel
Todd Parker's insight:

This is an excellent online source of virtual manipulatives.  Whether in class or at home, computers may be in use and this site allows for the use of math manipulatives in a wide variety of contexts for problem solving.  Sometimes you may not have manipulatives handy but you do have computers.  Then this site can help your students visualize as if the manipulatives were in front of them.  Just one of many ways that technology has helped students in math.  Sometimes my students ONLY understand if they can "touch" the problem.  Well, this is the next best thing.  You can't have every manipulative in the world, so this site can expand your collection and how they are used.

John Dalziel's curator insight,

Learning and understanding mathematics, at every level, requires learner engagement.
Mathematics is not a spectator sport.
Many practitioners are so assessment orientated, that far too much of their current instruction fails to actively involve learners.

One way to address this problem is through the use of manipulatives, physical objects, provided by this website.
They help learners visualize relationships and applications.
The Utah State University team have built Java-based mathematical tools and editors allowing them to create exciting new approaches to interactive mathematical instruction.
The NLVM is a resource from which practitionerers can freely draw to enrich their mathematics learning environments. The materials are also of importance for Initial (mathematical) Teacher Training.
Another excellent sites, and a must for maths practitioners to visit.

 Rescooped by Todd Parker from Common Core Online

## Perseverance in Problem Solving, Part II

In part I of this two part series, I introduced a couple of ideas I have about defining perseverance in problem solving and some instructional shifts that need to happen in order to achieve those goals.

Via Darren Burris
Todd Parker's insight:

I love this article on perseverance in problem solving.  It lays out what perseverance is in a problem solving context, how to instill and apply it, and the pitfalls to avoid when expecting perseverance out of our students.  I think that people (and some teachers) are ready to accept that some kids can persevere and others just can or will not.  They look at it as if it were inborn or absent from a person's personality.  The article makes a great point about students needing to make connections or relationships about the problem before they can move on to other stages of solving it.  If we can't give our students a basic foundation for the problem, how are they going to persevere?  We need to use strategies in place as teachers in order for us to expect our students to power through tough problems.  It's up to us to help them to make the necessary connections so that they can power up and power through problems.  The students in my fifth grade classroom will shut down quickly if they can't make connections to prior knowledge.  I have to build a bridge for them in order for them to engage in the mental labor of problem solving.  Perseverance can be a skill built in a person.  You don't have to be born with it.  And once you deploy strategies like questioning with your students and they experience a little success, it's amazing how much perseverance you can see.

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## NTN Twitter Math Challenge! | New Tech Network

Real world application of quantitative reasoning (with a little social networking thrown in), via @newtechnetwork http://t.co/4zRP6jsoKq
Todd Parker's insight:

This is just a simple exercise in mathematics, but the meaningful part of it for me is the platform on which it is deployed.  They take a little math problem, put it in a Twitter context, and open it up for discussion.  This is the tech world that the students live in and they definitely identify with these types of contexts.  This exercise brings together, internet, social media, and math in a unified approach.  It will engage students through it's context, give them word problem solving experience, make them apply their math knowledge, and discuss with a mathematical community that stretches will beyond their classroom walls.  Kids definitely are up to solving problems in this context.  They know more about computers and social media that we think (or may be comfortable with).  While this particular problen is not very complex, it still engages them in a community of learners and risk takers.  I can imagine coming up with several topics for discussion and problem solving by springboarding off of this one existing problem.  That way I could extend the discussion much further.

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## Teaching STEM Through Flight Simulation

Engaging kids in math and science may be as simple as showing how STEM relates to real-world experiences.
Todd Parker's insight:

This is an excellent example of bringing the real world into the classroom and revealing the related math.  Being a pilot would appeal to most young students and they can see how necessary math is to flying.  Most kids will just think"flying is cool" in the beginning, but this exercise is one example of bringing math to the forefront of a job where people just don't associate math and the job.  Maybe next time they fly, they'll remember what goes into their flight and how much of it is math.  This is something that, with access to laptops in the classroom, we can make happen for the students.  This is also just one example.  Associating desirable jobs with math is, in my opinion, a great way to send home the message of math's importance in our world and how it permeates everything.  Also, as an aspiring educator who is currently embedded in a public school classroom, I love the inter disciplinary approach in this application.  Merging science and math is always helpful in a Common Core or STEM environment.  My school happens to be a STEAM school:  STEM merged with the arts("A").

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## Manipulatives for dyscalculia - Dyscalculia Headlines

Dyscalculia: News from the web: People with Dyscalculia can usually helped greatly if you explain math concept with the help of some manipulatives.
Todd Parker's insight:

Giving students the right tools to gain the knowledge that they need might sometimes include those who have learning disabilities such as dyscalculia.  This site give ideas and advice for dealing with this particular problem.  For these kids, perseverance is a way of life.  I know a student with this problem and it just makes math more distant and difficult.  It is up to us, the teachers, to educate ourselves on how we can best serve these unusual cases.  They can benefit from manipulatives even more than average students and should be given every opportunity to do so.  This site is a tool to add to the toolbox.  More like a specialty tool, but we all need those as well.  If the student is willing to persevere, we must study up on how to serve them best.  Sites like this help us both.

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 Rescooped by Todd Parker from College and Career-Ready Standards for School Leaders

## Teaching Math to the Core

Teaching to the Common Core State Standards for Math. With the CCSS emphasizing analysis and problem solving, great lesson plans that engage students is a must.

Via Teresa McDaniel, Mel Riddile
Todd Parker's insight:

I really like this website in general.  It takes good teaching skills and models them for us in a real classroom.  They have real teachers in real classes and then there is commentary about what is going on.  There is a real thrust towards Common Core here and how to teacg the problem solving and perseverance skills that are so necessary in Common Core.  In math, you see the use of all kinds of manipulatives that you might not think of on your own.  Sometimes the only thing that students need to become engaged or to get over the hump is having something to move around or see other than numbers on paper.  This website is a goldmine for good ideas.

Teresa McDaniel's curator insight,

Great lesson on teaching Common Core Math

David Timbs's curator insight,

Really good video!

 Scooped by Todd Parker

## Problem-solving enhances teaching of mathematics - GhanaWeb

Problem-solving enhances teaching of mathematics
GhanaWeb
Problem-solving plays an important role in the learning of mathematics by children, and should form an integral part of the entire mathematics curriculum.
Todd Parker's insight:

I liked the insights in this article.  It cautions us not to think that story or word problems are the same as problem solving.  Just because we use our student's names or neighborhoods in a problem does not mean that we are cognitively challenging our students and sharpening their skills.  I found myself falling into this assumption early in my internship.  The writer challenges teachers to give problems which intrigue our students and inspires intense reasoning and speculation.  This leads the students to investigate the problem and become invested in its solution.  This is the kind of thinking and problem formulation that our exercises in open ended problem solving are intended to lead us to.  We want the students to have the opportunity to come up with their unique methods to solve a problem and to be able to present them and defend them.  In short, we want the students invested in their work.  That, in my opinion, is what this article is about.  And a student invested in  the solution to a problem is a student engaged in meaning making.

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 Rescooped by Todd Parker from New Web 2.0 tools for education

## Real World Math Problems

Mathalicious lessons teach standards-based math through real-world topics that students care about.

Via Kathleen Cercone
Todd Parker's insight:

This is a paid service, but it goes exactly to the heart of what teachers are now trying to do:  engage their students by showing them applications of what they are being taught.  We are now charged with educating the next generation work force with Common Core.  This product gets to the heart of what the new goal is:  teaching math in a relevant, real world, accessible way to engage the learners in the process.  We are all scrambling to fing engaging ways to put our lesson concepts into a context that the students can identify with and sink their teeth into.  I'm not advocating this particular program, but it really does get to the heart of what we are trying to do every day.  In my fifth grade math class, students quickly check out mentally when you throw an abstract algorithm at them and practice it over and over.  If they can see the "how it relates" or "how its used", they are much more likely to take it seriously as something that they might want to know.  Any time I bring something into the lesson that relates to their world, kids show more interest.

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## 'A Golden Age of Mathematics' in Interdisciplinary Research at UCSB - Noozhawk

Noozhawk 'A Golden Age of Mathematics' in Interdisciplinary Research at UCSB Noozhawk Recently named to the mathematics faculty at UC Santa Barbara, Freedman also serves as director of the campus-based Station Q — a Microsoft research outpost...
Todd Parker's insight:

This is an article where they highlight the interactions of math in the real world.  The gist is that most people think that math is "figured out" and that they just have to pass the classes.  In our increasingly tech-heavy world, math is used everywhere and new applications of math are being devised every day.  Mathematicians have done work that has no application yet, but it will in the future.  They also have practical problems that need to be figured out right now and they are working on innovative solutions to solve them.  Math is not"figured out" and it is not static. The article calls this a "golden age" for mathematics. My students seem to share the common view that math is for business and mathematicians.  I'm tryig to alert them that math resides in just about everything around them.  They just need to reflect upon it a little bit.  I've been opening their eyes all semester by showing them varied object, pictures, and places and challenging them to show me where the math resides.  After a few minutes, the mental juices start flowing and their mathematical awareness comes to life.  It's a worthwhile pursuit.

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