Posted on : 04-10-2011 | By : InteractiveEducator | In : Problem Solving
Engage your students’ problem solving and spatial relations skills with these construction challenges. Each challenge involves placing a series of parts in the correct locations and/or adjusting parts to result in a functioning machine. Each functioning machine completes a task such as directing a ball into a bucket or focusing light through a magnifying glass. Students are able to test their machines anytime during the building process to help them revise their machines. Several levels of difficulty are represented, and Dish It Out even allows students to create challenges for other students to complete.
These challenges would be most useful for individual student problem solving and/or for small group cooperation at a center.
Have students bring in materials such as cardboard boxes, tin cans, string, empty milk cartons, etc. and move these online activities into the classroom by setting up an area for students to practice hands-on construction and problem solving by creating their own machines that complete tasks.
Posted on : 23-05-2011 | By : InteractiveEducator | In : Fractions
Two of my favorite websites for exploring fractions concepts with students are Kids and Cookies and Find Grampy. I share Kids and Cookies often at conferences and during webinars. I was honored two years ago to meet one of the creators of Kids and Cookies when he introduced himself after attending my interactive resources presentation at PCTM in Pittsburgh.
I used Kids and Cookies to introduce fractions to my students. The open-ended manipulative allowed them to explore the concept of fractions in the context of a real world problem. I would choose three kids and four cookies and ask my students how they could divide them equally and “still be friends” when they were finished. The manipulative then allowed us to cut the cookies into equal parts which would be the springboard for our discussion “What Is A Fraction?”
Being able to choose different numbers of students, different numbers of cookies, and different shapes of cookies opens the manipulative to future uses for exploring equivalent fractions and mixed numbers.
I used Find Grampy to practice visualizing the size of fractional parts of a whole with my students. Students are used to larger numbers representing larger quantities, so a difficult fractions concept for them to grasp is the fact that the denominator increases as the size of the fractional part decreases. Find Grampy helps students practice visualizing the size of fractional parts in the context of a fun hide-and-seek game. I often used virtual ink over the top of the interactive and asked students to divide the hedge into the equal number of parts indicated by the denominator before answering online.
Both Kids and Cookies and Find Grampy are included in StarrMatica’s Teaching Beginning Fractions Concepts ebook that can be downloaded for free here.
Posted on : 18-11-2010 | By : InteractiveEducator | In : 3-6 Math, Place Value
I have shared many place value resources here on the Interactive Content Corner. Place value is a foundational skill that students must master to understand more complex concepts relating to our system of numbers. Place Value Strategy tests a student’s knowledge of place value concepts when working with decimals. Students can choose to play versus a classmate or versus an online robot. Players take turns spinning the number wheel and choosing to place each number in a specific place value. The goal is to create a number larger than your opponent’s, but once you have placed a number, it cannot be moved.
This game is great for encouraging students to think about decimal place value concepts, but it also has the dual purpose of encouraging thinking about probability.
When introducing this activity with students as a whole class, ask them related problem solving questions such as:
What would be the largest number you could create?
What would be the smallest number you could create?
If I my number so far is 99_ and the Robot’s is _49, can the Robot beat me? How could you change the Robot’s number so it would be possible to beat me? What would the Robot have to roll to beat me?
If I roll a 4 as my first number, where should I place it? Why? What are my chances of rolling a larger number? What are my chances of rolling a smaller number?
If I roll a 7 as my first number, where should I place it? Why? What are my chances of rolling a smaller number? What are my chances of rolling a larger number?
Play a few rounds as a whole class versus the Robot or as two teams in a competition. Encourage your students to discuss their strategies for number placement.
Note: If using an interactive whiteboard, you may want to use the Zoom feature in your browser to enlarge the game for better viewing.
Posted on : 05-11-2010 | By : InteractiveEducator | In : Decimals
I love games that ask students to problem solve using several different skill sets at once. In this game of Decimal Darts, students are asked to visualize, estimate, and use logical reasoning. Balloons are placed at random intervals along a number line marked by random beginning and ending numbers. Students then need to enter a number that they believe represents the location of a balloon along the number line. A dart is thrown to pop the balloon. Students then move on to the next balloon or re-adjust their answers if the dart missed. The challenging aspect of this game is that the balloons are not placed at predictable fixed intervals, and the beginning and ending points are also varied.
Decimal Darts makes a great whole class competition. Divide your class in half and use two player mode to have students compete to pop the most balloons. Be sure to alternate which team begins each game since seeing one dart thrown creates a significant advantage.
Decimal Darts would also make an excellent center activity for an upper elementary unit on estimation. Partners could use two player mode to compete or one player mode to complete the activity together by discussing and justifying their estimates.
Note: If using Decimal Darts on an interactive whiteboard, you may want to use the Zoom feature in your browser to enlarge the game for better viewing.
Posted on : 27-10-2010 | By : InteractiveEducator | In : Patterns
Get into the Halloween spirit with these spooktacular math games!
Browse 32 additional interactive Halloween activities in
StarrMatica’s October Newsletter Holiday Insert.
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*Note: The phrasing on this table is taken directly from the Oswego City Schools Website where these activities are hosted. These activities were created and are copyrighted by Mark Cogan.