Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bedtime Math!?!

Time has an article about a move to get children jazzed about math: Bonnie Rochman, Beyond Counting Sheep: Why Math Is the Hot New Bedtime Reading, Time, Feb. 25, 2013, at 52. You have to subscribe to see the whole article, but the title alone gives you the key message: having kids think a little about math regularly is as important as reading to them.  (A few months ago, the author had an online story: A Problem a Day Keeps Fear of Arithmetic Away, Time Health & Family, Nov. 21, 2012.)

The article features Bedtime Math. You can follow or subscribe to the blog to get three problems a day, aimed at pre-K, K-2, 2nd grade and up. According to the Time article, the site will add a higher level of difficulty for "tweens, teens and even adults" in late February. That's any day now! Hooray!

The Time  story says:
the strongest evidence that Bedtime Math can change children's skills comes from data collected from Snacktime Math, a program of Bedtime Math problems given to kids attending summer camp at a New Jersey Boys & girls Club: more than 70% of the largely low-income students improved their skills after a six-week session.
The article also mentions Math for Love, "a Seattle outfit that advises teachers on how to use games to spice up math education."  I haven't read through much, but Math for Love's blog looks very good—interesting, witty, and mathy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Teaching Kids Real Math with Computers

Interesting Ted Talk by Conrad Wolfram (2010):

He argues that we act like calculating is all there is to math, so that we spend too much time teaching students how to calculate by hand and not nearly enough time teaching them to ask the right questions, frame the questions mathematically, and evaluate the results. (He does not say we should throw out all calculations. It's useful to be able to do some mental arithmetic to make estimates, for example.)

If you've never seen wolframalpha.com, by the way, take a look. It's very useful for statistics (e.g., area of the U.S., population of L.A.), formulas (volume of a cylinder, quadratic equation). You can also use it to check your answers for algebra (and other) math problems.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ted Ed Has Cool Videos

Ted Ed has short educational videos on a wide range of topics. Most are animated, through the pairing of an educator (who does the content and the narration) and a professional animator. All of them are accompanied by quizzes or questions to think about and links to other sources. 

For students who think spelling is crazy, try:
Would you like to encourage your student to reach for a stronger, more lively vocabulary? Recommend The case against "good" and "bad."

For high school students learning about how to analyze literature, see
These are just some of the lessons listed under Language Arts. There are also interesting entertaining videos in many other areas (Science & Technology, Social Studies, and more).

screen shot - Ted Ed home page
Ted Ed's home page