Tag Archives: math

5 Great Free Math Websites For Teachers

by Mary Kate Dempsey

free math websites for teachers

Image courtesy of artur84 | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Technology is a great way to introduce variety to your math lessons. Below are some helpful websites that teachers can use as reference materials, for tutoring, as extra practice, or just for fun.

Khan Academy

We have talked about Khan Academy before. Khan Academy has thousands of K-8 educational videos to help students grasp concepts from basic arithmetic to calculus and organic chemistry. As a teacher, you can create a class and track both your students’ progress through skill assessments and how much time they spent working on the site. The site includes non-math subjects, but they aren’t the draw.

A+ Click

A+ Click is a great resource for students who need extra practice. Students choose either a grade level, G1–12, or a topic. Whether the student answers right or wrong, A+ Click will show you why the correct answer is correct (so even the lucky guessers will learn something). The site revised most of the questions in 2015 to align to the Common Core. Bonus: no sign-in required!

Wolfram MathWorld

This offshoot of the popular Wolfram Alpha online calculator has hundreds of free math articles on topics ranging from algebra to topology, including the history and definitions of math terms—fun for the math nerd in all of us! Many articles include helpful visuals such as GIFs and pictures. It is the perfect reference material when needing to go into more detail about a theorem or topic.

AAA Math

This site for students in grades K-8 contains short written lessons followed by practice items on topics from addition to algebra. In the classroom, ask students to answer a specific number of practice questions or set a time limit and have students tell you their score at the end. The site is also available in Spanish.

Math Dude Podcast

More for the audial learner, Math Dude is a weekly podcast most appropriate for high school students. Host Jason Marshall aims to make math fun with facts about the Juno Spaceship and the NCAA Tournament. He shares tips and tricks to help make math easier for kids who are struggling. The podcasts range from 6-10 minutes, making it a great bellringer.

What are some other math websites you love? Let us know in the comments.

Math Resources for Summer School

by Helen Beyne

math apps and websites for summer school

images courtesy digital art/luigi diamanti | freedigitalphotos.net

School’s out—except for those of you teaching summer school. There’s often a lot of material to cover with your summer school students, but summer session is also a great time to try out some new tools.

Here are some resources to help get your students up to speed in math this summer.

WEBSITES 

THE WORKS: Khan Academy is a great resource. Not only does it provide self-guided instruction for your students, with instructional videos and hints that clearly explain the process for determining the answer to a question, but it is also aligned with CCSS. You can even “recommend,” or assign, lessons to your students and track their progress.

THE BELLS AND WHISTLES: If you’re looking for some real-world math problems that will engage your students, check out Get the Math. Students can use their math skills to figure out how to do things like mix music and make clothing with a high profit margin. These lessons include guidelines for teachers, aligned to CCSS, and videos and interactive activities for students. For students who need help with particular skills, the lessons include videos of students using their math skills to figure out each problem.  

THE WELLSPRING: PBS LearningMedia is a huge repository of videos, lessons, and interactive activities that you can use in your classroom. You can search by subject, grade, and CCSS; create shareable folders; and even download media and related guides for classroom use.

IPAD APPS

WHAT’S IN A NAME?:  For practice with addition and multiplication, share the quick-paced Sushi Monster app with your students. This app is exactly what it seems to be. Students must feed a monster the appropriately labeled pieces of sushi with numbers that can be added together or multiplied to equal the number dangling from its neck. Each level increases the number of problems and answer choices.

FOR THE VISUAL LEARNERS: For a series of apps aligned to CCSS math standards for Grades 1–5, try Splash Math, a visually engaging app with images that help students understand math concepts. The free version limits students to twenty questions per day, so this might be used to quickly reinforce or test a skill that you’ve covered.

What websites and apps do you use to teach math?

Helen bioHelen Beyne is a consultant for Green Light Professional Development. She has years of experience in creating innovative curriculum materials in reading, ESL, science, and social studies. She writes about IWBs and free online resources for teachers.

Pi Day: How It Started and How to Celebrate

March 14 is Pi Day, a celebration of everyone’s favorite irrational number. The one some kid in your 8th grade math class memorized 50 digits from to impress people. 3.141592653….

What is pi?

Aside from being the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet, pi represents the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. The value of pi is fixed regardless of the size of the circle: the circumference will always be a little more than 3 times the diameter. This makes it a mathematical constant.

It is impossible to express pi as a common fraction. The value of pi can be shown numerically only as a never-ending decimal with no pattern of repetition.

Early mathematicians such as Archimedes used many-sided regular polygons to try to calculate an accurate value for pi. (Check out this interactive web page from PBS showing how Archimedes was able to approximate the value of pi.) With the arrival of the computer, mathematicians gained an opportunity to find the value of pi to a staggering level of precision. In December 2013, mathematicians Alexander Yee and Shigeru Kondo announced they had calculated the value of pi to 12 trillion digits. It took Kondo’s computer more than a year to make the calculation.

What is Pi Day?

The first Pi Day celebration was led in 1988 by a physicist at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Participants marched around in a circle and then dined on fruit pies.

Next year will be an especially cool celebration of Pi Day, because on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 (a.m. and p.m.) the first ten digits of pi will be represented accurately.

What should I do in my classroom for Pi Day?

Pi Day is a great opportunity to discuss property of circles, geometry in nature, and the beauty of mathematical constants.

Activities and resources we like for Pi Day:

  • Play the geometry and spatial awareness puzzle app Slice It! (G4–8) ($0.99)
  • Have younger kids play Moose Math ($1.99) on the iPad.
  • Explore the free NRICH website, sponsored by the University of Cambridge, which contains many math activities for students in grades K–8.
  • Check out the suggested Pi Day activities on the San Francisco Exploratorium site.
  • Have students play with circles with the Circles Are Awesome online activity.
  • Play around and see where students’ birthdays, favorite numbers, or zip codes appear in pi on the Pi Search page.
  • For more pi fun, go to TeachPi.org.

How do you celebrate Pi Day?

Khan Academy: Data-Driven YouTube for Math Class?

by Erin Dye

Headphones and keyboard for Khan Academy

New tools for math class | credit: © Restyler | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Khan Academy has gotten quite a bit of buzz lately, including hype around their high profile partnerships. Their videos have been the subject of both praise and censure. Because of all this, you probably already know that Khan Academy hosts videos on a wide range of subjects with the goal of creating blended classrooms and differentiating instruction.

What I didn’t know until recently is that the site has made major changes to the way math teachers can organize lessons, oversee class behavior, and monitor progress. The site had some data management before, but the interface, the reporting, and the behavior management mechanisms have been revamped with the busy math teacher in mind.

For example, check out this video on how the glossy new dashboard works.

The dashboard offers a rich array of sorting options. You can organize your reports by class, by student, by exercise, by activity, by date, and by the goals you set for the class or for individual students. You can see a top-level chart that shows how the students are doing overall, and you can drill down into the data to find out why a particular student is falling behind, seeing exactly where the confusion lies. You can then assign that student a set of videos, lessons, and games that will help him or her grasp the concept. You can differentiate between students who have completed skill versus those who have mastered the skill.

Khan Academy has aligned their content to the Common Core for grades 6–8, and they are in the process of mapping lessons for the other grades. At a recent professional development seminar in Chicago, the facilitators mentioned that similar interface changes may be coming to their other subject areas in the near future.

If you’re considering blending your classroom, Khan may be what you’re looking for. Create a free login, then check out their Resources page for a walkthrough of how to get started.

You can also see testimonials from teachers who have used Khan Academy to support their blended classrooms.

Have you tried it? Do you love Khan or does it leave you cold? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

Erin DyeErin Dye is a consultant for Green Light Professional Development with extensive experience creating digital materials for interactive whiteboards and iPads. She writes about IWBs and free online resources for teachers.