Do the Math!

8/1/2005 By: Carol Holzberg

Throwing youngsters into the deep end doesn't teach swimming. But once they've learned the basics, children who practice their strokes can become better swimmers. The same is true for math. In this round up we highlight several Pre-K to grade-12 Web sites with math resources for teachers and students.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM): Principles & Standards for School Mathematics
At this site you can learn more about the principles underlying high-quality mathematics instruction. NCTM's publication titled Principles and Standards for School Mathematics offers guidelines for math education, presenting the standard skills and understandings that students must know to function in a mathematically rich world and offering curriculum frameworks, assessments, and instructional materials to improve the quality of math instruction. Standards are described by grade and content areas. Follow the link to NCTM's math site called Illuminations for K-12 math lessons, interactive tools for learning and teaching math, and selected Web resources for math education. Also, be sure to check out the exemplary Math/Science Web sites recommended by ENC Online, the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education for real-world math projects and problem-solving, plus the math resources at the Ohio Resource Center for Mathematics, Science and Reading, where you can browse for math concepts by topic or grade.

Multiplication Concentration
Hosted by A+ Math, this online game of concentration tests a player's knowledge of multiplication math facts and memory skills. Players try to match all problems in the grid on the left with solutions in the on the right. There's also a game of Addition Concentration.

Other great sites with math games for kids include:

a) Education 4 Kids: Math General, Money Math, Time Math
Flashcard drills, early math counting activities, brain teasers, fill in the blank math tables, practice with counting money, making change, and purchasing items from a shopping list, plus date and time computations; and
b) Primary Games: Math
Pre-K t grade-4 math activities and a curriculum guide identifying the skills each activity covers. Da Numba's a winner! Check it out for yourself.

Math Ideas
Looking for a tried and true way of supporting math instruction in your K-6 class? Visit this Web site for dozens of math instruction ideas by teachers for teachers. Activities teach angles, place value, graphing, weather tracking, prime factors and more. Other sites with math problems for kids include Math Problem-Solving, which offers original mathematics problem solving worksheets for students in grades 4-5 and higher.

321Know Math
This is an online resource for teaching division. Featuring dozens of activities, it offers interactive practice with division facts, divisibility, dividing fractions and decimals and division problems. There are also several challenge games. At the main 321Know Math Web site you'll find other math topics organized by grade level and arithmetic topic, plus homework help, a glossary of terms, links to Web resources, and learning aids.

Math Problems with a Point
Selected by the NCTM as an exemplary Web site, this math-oriented resource focuses on problem solving. Targeting students in grades 6-12, it provides practice with a variety of problem types. Users can search for resources by math topic (e.g., Numbers, Geometry and Measurement, Algebra and Functions, Discrete Mathematics, Topology, Calculus) or by time required, problem-solving strategies, technology (such as calculators, graphing calculators and spreadsheets) or keyword. Several examples include helpful problem-solving hints. All problems include answers, solutions, and links to similar challenges.

Word Problems for Kids
Can't get enough practice with word problems? At this Canadian Web site for students in grades 5-12, you'll find dozens of word problems (with problem solving hints and answers) organized by grade level. Problems involving distance, weight, and temperature use the metric system. Another valuable Web resource providing hands-on math practice is MathStories.com: House of Math Word Problems for Children. It boasts over14,000 NCTM-compliant math word problems (in Spanish or English) and critical thinking challenges for children in elementary and middle school. Problems correlate to state math standards. The site includes both interactive online problems and printable worksheets for offline practice.

Online Logic Puzzles/Games: Battleship
The popular strategy board game makes its way to the computer screen as a solitaire Flash applet (Macromedia Flash Player and Shockwave plugins required). To uncover the location of the opponent's battleships, players must strategize, think critically and problem solve.

Welcome to Maths Is Fun
Yes, that is “Maths” in the title. Started by an British math teacher who wanted to encourage an interest in mathematics, this site now hosts a variety of multi-age basic math activities for instruction, review, and fun. Children practice math facts, solve puzzles, learn how to calculate the area of several shapes, and print worksheets and math tables for offline review. Specific topics include: 1) Number & Algebra (with tutorials and practice for working with fractions, number patterns, coordinates, and much more); 2) Shape, Space & Measures with activities that help children identify different shapes and angles and teach them how to tell both analog and digital clock time; 3) Handling Data providing practice with mean, mode, and median data analysis; and 4) Probability Line and Standard Deviation. (If this site had been around when I was in graduate school, I would never have cried my way through the required statistics course!) You'll also find printable puzzles, quizzes, and programs for TI83 calculators. Another fun-filled math practice Web site with boisterous multimedia math activities is Math cats: Fun Math for Kids, featuring interactive open-ended math explorations, puzzles, Microworlds Logo projects, crafts and art.

Coolmath.com
Billed as "An amusement park of math designed for fun," Coolmath is great resource for kids who hate math or find it confusing. Targeting kids ages "13-100," it features brain bender math puzzles, a Lemonade Stand simulation, help with fractions, algebra and precalculus, a free online graphing calculator, plus links to cool things math can do. There are also links for parents and teachers.

Examining the Feasibility and Effect of a Computer-Based Read-Aloud Accommodation on Mathematics Test Performance
As a result of NCLB (No Child Left Behind) legislation, all students in grades three to eight must be tested annually in English Language Arts and mathematics. LD (Learning Disabled) and ELL (English Language Learners) often require special accommodations to take those tests. When humans provide those accommodations, test scores increase. Critics argue that human readers provide an unfair advantage because of the "cuing effect." They influence students’ responses by emphasizing a particular word or phrase or by using facial expressions indicating approval or disapproval of student answers. This article reports on a pilot study to test the effects of computer-based text-to-speech readers as an alternative to human read-aloud accommodation. Preliminary findings indicate that computer-based technology helps raise student scores without influencing student test responses.

Scholastic Teacher: Math
Popular book publisher, Scholastic, offers a great collection of Pre-K to grade-8 math lesson plans, complete with activities, reproducibles, and extra challenges. You'll also find a teacher's guide with helpful information organized by topic. Focus areas include Consumer Math, Charts, Graphs and Number Lines, Averages, Area and Volume, Logical Reasoning, Data Analysis, Sets and Groups, Symmetry and Time. Other sites with resources for math instruction include Edscope's Lesson Plan Page where you can create your own worksheets and flashcards for students in grades 1-4, Cynthia Lanius' collection of math resources at Mathematics Lessons that are fun, fun, fun!, and lessons from the North Carolina Teachers' Network.

High School Operations Research: Mathematics for Decision Making in Industry and Government
If you have any doubt about the value of math literacy in the world outside the classroom, visit this site. Targeting high school students, its teacher friendly modules provide instructional materials to help teach math concepts drawn from "operations research" (real-world decision-making) in industry, insurance, delivery services, sales, labor relations, and investment planning.

Email: Carol S. Holzberg, PhD

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