Polypad by Mathigon is a Game-Changer in any Classroom!

Mathigon is indeed a "mathematical playground" for students and teachers alike! 

If you are not familiar with this amazing tool, it contains a variety of free tools, courses, and manipulatives to make learning math engaging and accessible. Whether you are in an online, hybrid, or face-to-face learning environment, there are tools for you to use! 

Polypad

Mathigon's Polypad is one of my favorite tools because it provides manipulatives and visuals for students to understand fractions, numbers, geometric shapes, algebraic equations, and more! Brain research tells us that students need multiple exposures and mediums to understand concepts and topics.


How Does it Work? 

Want to see it in action? Check out my three-minute video to see how it works! 







Develop Mastery with The Math Learning Center Apps

I recently talked with a math teacher, who told me how important mathematics is to develop cognitive and critical thinking skills. It makes sense because both are extremely important for mastering the skills necessary to solve problems. 

The foundation of math curriculum is often based on method standards, which show if a student has mastered a particular skill. If students fail to master one skill, it could lead to problems down the road as complexity tends to increase. 

The Math Center

Building background knowledge is an important strategy for scaffolding learning and helping students master content or skills. This can be accomplished by exposing students to multiple representations and examples. For instance, if you were teaching the value of money to a group of students, you may use manipulatives, video clips, and simulations.

However, what if your students struggled with understanding the connection between the coin and its actual value? The Math Center has an excellent web application or iOS app called Money Pieces. The application combines coins with base-ten blocks to help students connect money and its numerical value. 


The Math Center is filled with virtual simulations and manipulatives, which can help students master important skills and concepts. Here are some of my favorite tools: 


Fractions

Equivalent fractions can be difficult for some of our students to understand. The Fractions application by The Math Center is a great tool for helping students master this concept! 





Geoboard

Geoboard is one of my favorites because you can stretch "virtual" rubberbands around "pegs" to form line segments and polygons.  The best part is that students can share their virtual creations through a link or by downloading an image! 


Many More! 

There are many more examples that you can find and use with students, such as: 

  • Math Vocab
  • Number Lines
  • Number Frames
  • Pattern Shapes
  • Number Pieces (aka base-ten blocks)


Conclusion 

Many of our students struggle with problem-solving and mastery when a one-size-fits-all approach to instruction occurs. How can we help students develop as expert learners? In her book UDL Now 3.0, Katie Novak suggests using the UDL framework to build important background knowledge, utilize models and rubrics, and provide students with "mastery-oriented feedback." The Math Learning Center might be a great tool in your toolbox to accomplish this! 




Develop Important Student Thinking Skills with the Thinking Routine Toolbox

 How do you infuse critical thinking and decision-making into your classroom? Critical thinking is an important part of the learning process and developing important cognition skills; however, if you are like me, you tend to run out of strategies that students can use to model the thinking process. 

I recently came across Project Zero's Thinking Routine Toolbox, which is filled with scaffolded thinking routines aimed at developing thinking skills within students. Interested in trying a routine out? Project Zero's website contains ten categories, such as core thinking routines, possibilities and analogies, introducing and exploring new ideas, and more. 


For example, I often introduce new ideas and concepts to students. Don't get me wrong, the KWL charts that I often use are great; however, there are times when I want to try something out of the ordinary! I recently came across a thinking routine called Compass Points.

Students are asked four questions corresponding to the points on a compass (N, S, E, W).

  • What excites you? 
  • What worries you?
  • What do you need to know?
  • What is a stance or suggestion for moving forward?


This is a great protocol for student reflection, discussion, or both. 

In conclusion, whether you are a techie or non-techie person, Project Zero's thinking routines can help stimulate discussion, develop critical thinking skills, and increase learner engagement. You can very easily adapt any of the following routines to many of the technologies that you are already using! 

Give it a try and let me know what you think! 



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