Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mathematics and Multimedia

I'm pleased to introduce my new partner blog, Mathematics and Multimedia.
The Mathematics and Multimedia blog, by Guillermo Bautista, is a blog for K-12 mathematics teachers, students, and math enthusiasts. The blog discusses conceptual explanation of K-12 mathematics topics, suggests alternative ways of teaching and learning it, shares useful and free resources on the internet, and promotes the integration of technology in teaching.  The blog has many software and web application tutorials, and also discusses ways on promoting math sites and math blogs.
Math and Multimedia is the home of more than 50 step by step GeoGebra tutorials and the organizer of the Mathematics and Multimedia Blog Carnival.  
I'm excited to host the upcoming May 2011 Mathematics and Multimedia Blog Carnival.  If you'd like to make a submission, click here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Some Like it Hot!

Another great infographic!  I found this Infographic about the Sun on the Daily Infographic site. 

Infographics are a fantastic way to get over the "Worksheet Blues".  Most teachers and students get bored with Worksheets.  These days, we have so many more options for making math interesting and relevant.  With so many forms of Multimedia at our finger tips, we can easily find sources of current and relevant information to use for practice of math skills and concepts. We don't have to feel tied to worksheets anymore! 

Using forms of multimedia like images, videos, and Infographics also help you Differentiate Instruction.  They give you the ability to provide content and information which appeals to the interests of your students.  For example, students who like Science would love the opportunity to use something like this infographic to practice math skills.  Just remember to keep mixing up the topics of the Multimedia you choose so you're appealing to the interests of various students.

There are many possibilities for creating math problems from this Infographic. Think about using it to create and practice Scientific Notation and Proportion problems. 

How would you use this infographic to teach or practice math concepts?  Leave a comment.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

5 Free Brainstorming Webtools Video

Mind Mapping is a great way to review and consolidate learning.  Memories are formed and retrieved by making associations.  The more associations you can make for new content, the better chance you'll have of being able to recall it later.  Mind Maps are excellent tools for creating visual representations of the relationships and associations among math topics and concepts. 

This video highlights 5 Free Online Mind Mapping Tools (written notes)I like this video from Teacher Experience Exchange because it gives the basics of each tool in a concise manner.   Mark Brumley does a nice job of showing the major features of each one of the 5 Mind Mapping Tools.

In a previous post, I highlighted some uses for (another Mind Mapping and Presentation Tool).  The 5 Mind Mapping Tools featured here offer more traditional forms of Mind Mapping.  Your needs for the topic you're Mind Mapping will determine which of the tools is best. 

The 5 Mind Mapping Tools featured in the video are:


Here are Some Possible Topics for Mind Mapping:
  •  Fraction Operations --- Include rules, examples, and visuals for each operation.  You could also have students create Podcasts or Videos that describe the steps for solving Fraction problems.
  • Types of Angles 
  • Types of Triangles
  • Types of Quadrilaterals
  • Statistical Measures (Mean, Median, Mode, and Range)
  • Probability (Simple, Independent, Dependent) --- Include definitions, examples, videos of experiments, images of tree diagrams, etc.
  •  Area of Polygons --- Include various polygons, their formulas, examples, images of real objects, videos or audio of students explaining how to derive the formula for each polygon, etc.
  • Volume of Prisms, Cylinders, and Cones
  • Rates and Ratios --- Include images, definitions, examples, etc.
  Leave a Comment and give your ideas for possible Mind Mapping Topics.

Now This is "Real World"!

This question written by Patrick Honner is in the April 27th issue of The Learning Network ,which is part of the New York Times Education section. 

We often talk about "Real World" problems in math. I love this question because it's a perfect example of a Real World problem that is current and can have a huge impact on people's lives!  By bringing Current Events into a Math discussion, you're also making math relevant.  

Monday, April 25, 2011

Calling All Math Bloggers

The Mathematics and Multimedia Blog Carnival is on its eleventh edition and will be hosted here. It will be posted on Monday, May 16, 2011. The deadline of submission is Saturday, May 14, 2011. You may submit your articles here.

To increase the chance of your article of being published, read the Mathematics and Multimedia Carnival’s Criteria for Selection of Articles. To view the list of previous carnivals click here.

I look forward to receiving your submissions!

Friday, April 22, 2011

IGNITE Student Engagement in Math: 3 Simple Strategies for Making Content Memorable

Do you ever teach something one day and have students act like they've never seen it the next day?

I've written a FREE report on how you can use 3 simple Brain-Based Learning strategies to make learning math content more memorable. There are specific math examples for each strategy.  These strategies can be implemented immediately and with little effort.  And, you'll begin to see retention increase as a result of using any one of the strategies!  

You can get your FREE copy on the Love of Learning Educational Services website.

After reading your FREE report, please come back here and leave a comment.  We'd love to hear how these strategies are working for you!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Graph Sketch

Graph Sketch is an AWESOME online graph generator! 

Here are some of the features Graph Sketch has to offer: 

  • Color code equations for easy comparisons
  • Graph up to 6 equations on one graph
  • Change the scale and labels
  • Graph in Function or Parametric Mode
  • Download as an image and/or get a permanent link for your graph
  • Choose your image size 

Hope you find this one useful!

Please leave a comment and tell us how you use Graph Sketch.


Mathematical Fiction is a directory of various types of Fiction that have mathematical themes or references. Using mathematical references from books, movies, comics, etc. is a great way to make math interesting for students. There's a wealth of resources here. Check it out! 

If you find some good mathematical references for use with your class, please leave a comment and share them with us.

Monday, April 18, 2011

2-D Shapes Prezi

William Emeny created this Prezi on 2-D shapes.   In his blog post, he describes some advantages of using Prezi instead of Power Point.   This is worth checking out whether you're interested in the 2-D Shape presentation or you just want to experience a Prezi for 1st time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Circumference: The Evolution of a Lesson

In this post, I'd like to share how I was able to transform the way I taught Circumference in order to make it more Memorable for students.  This transition took place over several years of my teaching career.  It is important to note that I made these transitions while teaching students in Title I schools.  

The ideas presented in this lesson transformation can and should be applied to other topics and concepts in order to make content more memorable for students.
Scenario 1:  Rote Learning (Not Memorable!)

When I first started teaching, I pretty much taught everything in a rote and abstract manner.  So to teach Circumference I would just tell my students the formula for Circumference, show them how to input the variables, and finally I’d show them how to solve the equation.  We would do several guided practice problems and they were let loose to practice about 20 problems on their own.  There was no meaning associated with the learning at all!  There was no Novelty involved in the way I taught the lesson.

Scenario 2:  A Discovery Lesson (Somewhat Memorable!)

After a few years of teaching, I learned how to teach math conceptually. This was HUGE for me since I had not learned math this way!  I immediately began to implement Conceptual Development of mathematical concepts into my teaching. 

Once I had this enlightenment, I began to teach Circumference differently.  Here’s how I taught Circumference:

  •           I would bring in different sized circular objects and string.
  •           Students would use the string to compare the diameter of the circle to the Circumference of the circle. 
  •           Students would measure the string used for the diameter of the circle and the string used for the Circumference of the circle.  They would record their findings in a table.

in inches
in inches


We would then repeat this process with the radius.

The point was to get students to see the relationship between the diameter and Circumference of the circle.  This would lead to the discovery of Pi and the Circumference formula. 

Teaching the lesson this way was much more memorable for several reasons.
  •           Students were engaged in the learning process by having to actually measure and compare the diameter to the circumference.
  •          By discovering the formula, Circumference had much more meaning to students.  
  •          We had incorporated some Novelty because it wasn’t just another worksheet.  It was also different to have to measure the various circular objects.
After teaching the lesson this way, I definitely noticed an improvement in understanding and retention rates.  If students did forget things about Circumference, I could jog their memories by just reminding them about when we measured the circular objects with string.

Scenario 3:  Adding in Some Novelty (Now it’s Memorable!)

Several years later after learning about Brain-Based Learning, I decided that I could make this lesson even more Memorable for my students by adding some Novelty.

We basically did the same lesson as described in Scenario 2 with these variations. 

  •            Instead of just bringing in basic circular objects like paper plates and container lids, I decided to use different sized hula hoops. 
  •          I made more of a production about introducing the lesson. 

Introducing the Lesson:

In order to build curiosity and anticipation, I would place hula hoops at the front of room.  I wanted to make sure that they were seen when students entered the room.  As you can imagine, they were!  The hula hoops definitely created a buzz, which was exactly what I wanted.

Just by the sight of the hula hoops, my students were being “hooked”.  They wanted to know what was going to happen.  In fact, they could hardly make it through the” Warm Up” because they were so curious about the hula hoops.

When it was time to start the lesson, I would choose a hula hoop and attempt to use it.  After the laughter subsided, I would ask the class these questions.

             Does it matter what size hula hoop you use?  Why?
             Is it easier to use a large hula hoop or a small hula hoop? 
We would spend a few minutes debating these questions.  Based on their prior experience, they tended to agree that the larger hula hoops were easier to use. 

Next, I would ask students what “Math” word could be used to describe the size of a Hula Hoop. These were 7th graders so they had prior exposure to the term Circumference.  It sometimes took a few prompts, but someone would eventually get the correct word.

After discussing the vocabulary related to circles, I would explain that we were going to compare the relationship between the diameter and the Circumference and the relationship between the radius and the Circumference.  I would have them make predictions about the following.

  •          How many diameters will it take to equal the Circumference of the hula hoop?
  •        How many radii will it take to equal the Circumference of the hula hoop?
  •      Will these relationships change based on the size of the hula hoop?
The Lesson:

I would give students the instructions for the activity and get them started.  While doing the activity, they would complete the recording sheet (see below) where they filled in the tables and graphs.  I changed the activity by not having them measure the string.  This time, they were just noticing that the Circumference was a little more than 3 times the diameter.

Circumference Introduction (Hula Hoop Lesson)

The Result:

After teaching the lesson this way, I noticed marked improvements in understanding and retention rates!  This time even my weakest students and my ELL seemed to be able to grasp the concepts of Circumference and Pi.  Overall, my students rarely had trouble remembering that the Circumference is a little more than 3 times the diameter and that it’s a little more than 6 times the radius.  (We did transition to Pi is approximately 3.14.)  Throughout the year if it had been a while since we had done anything with Circumference, it might seem like they had forgotten.  I would just remind students about the activity we did with hula hoops and it would come right back to them.

So, what made the difference?

There are actually several reasons this lesson became more memorable, but Novelty is definitely one of the big reasons students were able to better recall what they had learned.  By bringing in Novelty with the hula hoops, students were interested in and curious about what they were about to learn.  They were more attentive to the learning because it was something different and fun.  When students needed to remember things about Pi and Circumference later, it was easier to recall because it was the only time they’d ever seen hula hoops in a math class.

Relevance and emotions also played a part in making this lesson more memorable.  Students were interested in the hula hoops, they had prior experience with the hula hoops, and they enjoyed seeing me “try” to hula hoop.  Along with the Novelty of the lesson, these things really made a huge impact on student’s understanding and retention rates.
If you want to make learning more memorable, Novelty should be a regular part of your daily lessons.  As you begin to include more Novelty into your lessons, you’ll notice that retention rates are not the only benefit.  You’ll also notice that attention and motivation are positively affected!

Remember, something is only novel for a short time, so we have to continually find new ways to introduce novelty into our lessons. 

If you like this post, you may also like these:

Now that's a Novel Idea!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Using Popplet in the Math Classroom

Popplet is an interactive bulletin board.  Think bulletin board meets sticky note meets technology. Popplet is a combination between a sticky note, a bulletin board, and a multimedia library.  Whatever you would write on a sticky note or tack on a bulletin board, you can put on a Popplet.  You can even upload images and videos.  

You create Popplets on a Wall.  A Popplet is the ‘sticky note’ that contains the video, image, text, and/or link.  You can have as many Popplets as you’d like on a wall.  You can also collaborate on Popplet Walls.  

Proper and Improper Fractions:  Below a Sample Vocabulary Mind Map Wall that I created in Popplet.  Notice the videos and images (all of the fractions are actually images that were uploaded into Popplet).  

Note:  You can create your own images in Power Point. 
  • just create the text, equation, Word Art, or image you want
  • right click on the text box
  • Save as Picture

Some Ideas for Using Popplet in the Math Classroom:
 Create Sorting Activities

You and your students can create any type of sorting activity in Popplet.   Sometimes it’s nice for the teacher to have ready-made activities, and sometimes it would be better for the students to create their own activities.  Consider what students would learn by creating their own activities.  Is it worth the time it would take?  Sometimes the learning opportunity does outweigh the time it would take students to create their own activities.   

Here are some ideas for sorting activities:

  • Create a wall with different multiplication or division of fractions problems and have students sort them by their answers.  (ex.  less than one, between 1 and 3, greater than 3 Or quotient is less than dividend, quotient is greater than dividend)
  •  Have students sort images by the types of angles they represent
  • Have students sort shapes or angles and then determine criteria for their sort.  They can complete the sort and write their criteria on the wall.  Then they can view and comment on other student’s sorts.  (You may have to have an image bank and allow students to make their own walls so everyone can work at the same time without interference.)
 Create Matching Activities

Popplet is a great tool for creating interactive matching activities.  Just like sorting activities, matching activities can be created by teachers or students.  When deciding, use the same criteria as above.  Is the learning opportunity for students worth the time they’d spend creating the activity?  If you think it is but don’t feel you have the class time to devote to it, consider making it an optional out of class assignment.  You might be surprised at who may take you up on the offer.  If some students do make activities, you could use them as a review activity later.   

Here are some ideas for matching activities:
  •  Make vocabulary walls and have students match images, words, and definition.
  •  Make walls that contain problems and steps that students have to match.  For example, put steps to equations or order of operations in order.
  • Make walls where students put together equivalent ratios
  • Make a wall with multiple representations of problems and have students match them up.
Mind Maps

Since Popplet allows you to connect Popplets, you can create mind maps.  The Popplet above would be an example of a mind map created with Popplet.

Word Walls

Make word walls of new vocabulary as you go through a unit.  The nice thing about making word walls in an application like this is that they can be ever growing and everlasting.  They can continually be used as a review and study tool for students.


Popplet can be used for brainstorming.  Since it allows for real time collaboration, you can have students brainstorm during or after class.  

Reflect on Learning

Popplet is an idea format for having students reflect on their learning.  The fact that students can collaborate makes it even better!
  •  You can create walls with questions about the day’s lesson. 
  • You can have students create walls each week where they list what they learned during the week
  • Create a wall where students can leave you questions about the lesson.
If you haven't already tried Popplet, I hope you'll give it a try.  It's very easy to use and the possibilities are endless!

Please leave a comment and tell us how you'd use Popplet with your students.