Tag Archives: technology

AWESOME Online Graphing Calculator

Desmos graph pizza function

This can be a game changer for students with special needs who struggle with math. The Desmos graphic calculator allows students to interact with math equations through multiple representations. It is far superior to graphing calculators in terms of quality and ease of use and is free. The app for Smartphones is outstanding.

Here are features that make this calculator user-friendly and an outstanding instructional strategy.

  • Students can click on dots and the ordered pair will appear (see top photo below).
  • Students can change features of the equation and immediately see how the graph changes.
  • Students can collect data and create a graph and convert the data into “mathy” representations like equations (see top photo below).

Desmos regression price vs mileage of used cars

 

Desmos parabola

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A Game Changer for Teaching Solving Equations

Dragon Box screen shotDragon Box (link to website here) presents solving equations, proportions (and fractions and expressions) using an alternative representation and in a highly engaging game format (different platforms!).

In the photo above, the goal is to get the treasure chest by itself. To do this, the fly looking thing and the snake have to be eliminated. First eliminate the snake with the black background (a night card) by placing the other snake card on top of it (a day card). The day card snake must be placed on the right side as well. The day and night card (representing positive and negative numbers) become a circulating hurricane looking card (which represents a zero).

I used it with my 5 year old son (video here) and he could solve 2 step equations (on the game) independently within a couple hours. This is a game changer in teaching kids algebra.

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Cat Chasing Mouse as System of Equations

 

 

 

 

 

This is a screen shot from explorelearning’s Gizmos. This site has various simulations related to science and math. This one shows multiple reprsentations for a system of equations. The site has 5 minute test trials which can be used to present a topic in class. I used the one for photosynthesis for a 7th grader with asperger’s who was collecting data for his science fair project.gizmo simulation of cat and mouse

 

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In lieu of a school having to make technology available for vast numbers of kids it is possible to use personal technology. The apps identified here can be useful in a math course.

Polls would allow personally relevant data collection and could lead to modeling opportunities (not on the runway, models like linear functions).

Plinky would allow a high tech version of an exit slip.

Group Tweet would allow collaboration on a project and provide details for a student who is absent. You could match kids with kids at another school…maybe another country!

I would love to field some input from readers.

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Special Ed = Problem-Solving

Received a Tweet from a parent asking about a particular disability. While I do not have experience with the disability in question, I feel I have the tools to address any disability. This is largely due to my professional training.

For my master’s in special ed I took an assistive technology (AT) course at the University of Saint Joseph. The first night the instructor, Carolann Cormier, revealed indirectly that AT (and special education in general) was essentially a problem-solving endeavor.

This was an epiphany. Since that one night I have had the mindset of using problem-solving and thinking outside the box to meet student needs. I give Carolann tremendous credit and identify that course as being one of the best I have ever had. Examples of how this has manifest in my teaching is evident on this blog, e.g. color coding and graphing on the computer.

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