BetterExplained: How To Use It To Teach

(Image credit: BetterExplained)

BetterExplained is, as the name suggests, a concise way to learn math. This is done through online resources as well as downloadable content that can be printed.

Created by Princeton University graduate Kalid Azad, this platform offers a way to teach and learn otherwise complex and challenging mathematical techniques in a straightforward way.

Azad, a computer science graduate who has been tutoring math for years, said he loves finding the most clear and intuitive insights on seemingly complicated topics. In this he has done just that, and shares it with anyone who wishes to learn math.

The site comprises online article-style resources, PDF documents, and video-based offerings. There's more, without it becoming too overwhelming. 

This guide aims to clarify what you can get out of it all to see if this could be helpful in your classroom.

What is BetterExplained?

BetterExplained is an online resource space that offers articles, PDF documents, videos, quizzes, slides, discussion topics, and more as ways to teach mathematical concepts.


(Image credit: BetterExplained)

BetterExplained is aimed at everyone, starting more simply and growing in complexity as it goes. So while most people could follow the first five or so lessons, you might need to have some knowledge of algebra to go beyond that.

The idea here is to not only show you how to do the math but, importantly, why it is done that way. It is described as teaching by which the overall picture is shown and it comes into clarity, rather than loading it in chunks that you have to hold in mind before getting to that final image for more understanding.

That should mean this can help students build a lasting and more intuitive understanding of calculus that goes beyond the specific formulas alone.

How does BetterExplained work?

BetterExplained offers plenty of articles on its website but also downloadable PDF lessons and videos. All of this is available without the need to sign-up or for any details to start using it right away.


(Image credit: BetterExplained)

While most of the resources mentioned are free, BetterExplained also offers more complex materials such as quizzes, slides, and video walkthroughs of lessons, but these come at a charged rate.

Students could be directed to the site, or specific concept articles, which they could work through on their own -- perhaps in preparation for a classroom lesson on the subject. Or these resources could be used in class to help illustrate points when beginning to teach a new concept.

Since everything is online, it all can be accessed by nearly any device, making it an easy one to share with students in class and beyond.

What are the best BetterExplained features?

BetterExplained is very easy to use with a clear -- if a little dated -- layout to all the information. Articles are broken down into sections such as Calculus, Computer Science, Essays, Advanced Math, Algebra, Math Essentials, Exponents and Logs, Geometry, and more. 

These are all laid out on a page so you can scroll and click into anything that seems useful -- ideal for browsing, but not perfect if you want to search for a specific lesson topic.


(Image credit: BetterExplained)

BetterExplained offers a Cheatsheet section that helps students learn in a way that is explained with more background and clarity. This offers sections such as Intuitive Learning under which lessons appear like "Analogies, useful even if wrong," "Math Intuition, start with the cat, not its DNA," and "Cartoons, simplify an idea to create a caricature."

The Colorized section is great as it lays out common formulas and breaks each down with explanations. It uses color in the formula that matches the words in the explanation so you can clearly see what is happening in the formula and how it can serve you.

A very helpful Calculus section offers multiple lessons to teach the subject, which can be viewed directly online or taken as a full course with videos and more.

How much does BetterExplained cost?

BetterExplained offers most of its resources for free but also offers a paid-for option that goes into more depth.

The Free resources include online course texts as well as all the various articles and resources related to explaining algebra.

Go for the Complete Course in calculus, at $99, and you get print-quality PDFs, video walkthroughs, per-lesson class discussions, slides, quizzes, and invitations to class webinars. 

BetterExplained best tips and tricks

Intro a concept
Use the resources to let students start on a new topic outside of class, using a link you send, so when they arrive at the lesson they understand some of the topic already.

Explain algebra
Use the colorized tool to explain key math formulas in a way that is engaging, fun, and clear before going into more depth.

Vary teaching styles
Use the Cheatsheet section as a way to get inspiration on different ways to teach and to think about communicating math concepts to students.

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.