Category Archives: Math

Using infographics for STEM: Part 2

In our last segment on Infographics for STEM, we looked at:

  • what infographics are,
  • why they are so popular now,
  • and what they look like in a classroom.

In this segment, we will look at:

  • more examples of infographics in STEM lessons, including interactive infographics
  • how to use infographics in your classroom
  • professional development opportunities
 

What does an infographic look like in a classroom?

(If you are viewing this on a mobile device, you may need to click on the images to enlarge them)
In this screenshot, you can see that we are in the infographic lesson for the Solar Energy Unit of our Energy Resources STEM project.  Just as good readers make predictions before they read novels, good readers of infographics scan the text and make predictions.  Since we want to make students aware of their metacognition, we ask them questions about what clues they used.
 
Look at the Math concept displayed and think of a question that would fit your grade level.  For instance, in this example, I know that this grade level works to the 10,000s place.  I selected the two numbers on the page that stay within that range.
 
Double dip.  How many Math concepts can you cover with one image?  Common Core, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced all work with progressive questions that build on each other.  Don’t be afraid to put multiple questions on one page.
 

What is an interactive infographic?

 
In interactive infographic is an infographic that can be manipulated in some way.  Sometimes, just hovering over a section of the image creates a pop-up.  Sometimes, it is hyperlinked to more data.  Let’s take a look at an interactive infographic here.  Click on the picture below and explore for a few minutes.
  1. Take a moment to look around the infographic.  It helps if you look in a clockwise motion, starting with the top left corner.  What information will this infographic give you?
  2. Scan your eyes to the top right corner.  What is pictured there?  
  3. Continue to the bottom right corner.  What picture is there?  What information will be there?
  4. Follow this pattern to the bottom left corner.  What can you expect to see there?
  5. Finally, direct your eyes to the middle of the infographic.  What does it say to do next?  
  6. What happened when you clicked one of the circles?
 
Spend some time with the infographic before you use it with students.  What information do you want them to learn?  Don’t be afraid to bring English Language Arts into the conversation too.  In the example above, I used the infographic to reinforce the ELA concept of Greek roots and affixes.  
 
You can still incorporate Math concepts in an interactive infographic.  You may need to take a screenshot of the infographic to really highlight that section.  In this example, I used the same screenshot for three math questions.  
 

How do I teach my students to “read” infographics?

It has been said that “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  Even if you are not labeled a “visual learner”, you have been using your eyes to make sense of the world since infancy.  Fortunately, there are strategies to harness that instinct.  Just as young readers are taught directly how to read a book, 21st century students need to be taught directly how to “read” visual text.
 
http://www.ideasforeducators.com/idea-blog/teaching-students-how-to-read-infographics

Students don’t have to “read” infographics on a computer.  You can print them.  In fact, by printing them and placing them in a page protector, your students can interact with the infographic even more.  I LOVE the ideas presented in this article on IdeasForEducators.com.  

 

  • Place a star next to the very first thing that catches your eye.
  • Place a circle around the one word that best describes the topic.
  • Place a square around important quantitative information
  • Draw an arrow to point out the best graphic that helped you to understand the topic.
  • Put a smiley face next to the data source.
  • Draw an arrow showing the best pathway to follow to read all of the important information.

As students become more adept at reading infographics, you can prompt to respond to 6 common questions in a journal or online text:

6 questions

  1. who
  2. what
  3. when
  4. where
  5. why
  6. how

 

Finally, students should reach a deep level of analysis.


  Ask students to find and analyze an infographic. They should be able to answer the critical thinking questions:


·         Does the infographic cite their sources? and, Are the sources reputable?


·         Is the data relevant?


·         How old is the data?


·         Is there an angle or bias coming through?


·         What is the motive of the organization, person, or group that created the infographic? Is it to educate, entertain, or sell something?


·         Are you being manipulated through the text, colors or graphics?


·         Does the infographic represent an accurate outline of the data?


Where can I learn more about this?

Since visual text is becoming more and more prevalent, professional development opportunities
exist to help teachers.  
 

 

 
 Visual Thinking Strategies offers professional development on how to analyze works of art and other visual text.  With the rise of infographics, there has been an insurgence of webinars on the topic.  You can search directly for infographic webinars.  If you are ready to create your own infographic, you can search YouTube for infographic tutorials.  


Why STEM Projects Work

As the Tech Ready Team has been working on building STEM projects this year, I’ve had a chance to see how these projects are working in the classroom and the great opportunities that these projects are opening up across our district.

The slideshow below is part description, part reflection on the ways they’ve been successful, and part vision of how they could be expanded.  Take a look at it.

Innovation Nation: A STEM Festival

Ination poster

Click the picture to download the poster in pdf format. Print on legal size paper.

The rest of the country has set their clocks forward, Spring is around the corner, and it’s time for a STEM festival.
On Wednesday, May 14th, the Chief Alchesay Activity Center will be host to Innovation Nation.

This event has been designed to bring awareness of STEM opportunities to the White Mountain Apache Nation as well as spotlight student STEM projects in the Whiteriver School District.

Booths will be set up from private companies, STEM organizations, Universities, and Government Agencies that will highlight innovation, new ideas, and creativity.

Winners of school contests at each school will be presenting their projects at the festivals.   During the event students, community members, and teachers will receive tickets for participating in activities at the various booths.  Participants can use the tickets they earn to “purchase” food at the event.

Students can participate and win prizes at various engineering and math problem solving competitions during the event.

What Can Teacher’s Do to Participate?

1) Advertise it to your students.

You can download the Innovation Nation Poster here.  Make sure to print the poster out on legal size paper.

2) Participate in the Class Innovation Contest at your School.

Winning classes will receive a pizza party, and we’re also working on prizes for winning teachers.  Contact your STEM curriculum developer or principal for information about the deadline for this contest at your school.  You can download a flyer for this competition here.

3) Attend for Professional Development hours on Wednesday, May 14th.

You’ll receive more information about how to register in mylearningplan.com to receive PD hours for attending.

4) Volunteer to help.

If you’re interested in volunteering to setup, hold student contests, or clean up, please email me: bgoode@wusd.us

Innovation Nation Contest

Click the Image above to download a pdf version of this flyer.

Common Core Math Resources (Free of Charge)

It’s tough to know where to start when looking for Math resources online- there is so much good stuff out there. It’s even more difficult to know where to start when looking for math resources that are aligned to and address the common core standards. This list of math resources has been compiled by http://www.ccedtech.com to specifically help get a handle on Common Core. I’ve added a few more resources to their list. Here they are:

The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives: This site is developed by Utah State University to support K-12. It includes plenty of online exercises.

Inside Math (videos and lessons): A resource for math educators that you should be familiar with.

Interactivate– Common Core Aligned Lessons:  A collection of digital interactive resources aligned to common core math.  Similar to NSDL below.

Learn Zillion – Common Core Aligned Lessons: Video tutorials, guided practice, and lesson plan downloads for teachers.  Read the TechReadyTeam post here.

Opus Math Problem Bank:  This is a search engine to find math problems aligned to common core.  It focuses on 7th and 8th grade.

Eureka Math– Common Core Math Maps: This is a pay site that has a free preview of their digital common core curriculum for grades K, 3, 6, and 9.

National Science Digital Library: Browse the Common Core Math Standards and find plenty of digital resources associated with key learning goals.

Math Video Sites:

Teaching Channel
Numberphile
SEDL
Mathalicious

I think you will find these sites a great help if you take a few minutes to look at them.

Capture

Troubleshooting Guide for Dell Latitude Tablets

The first phase of the tablet deployment is underway.  Many students have completed a required online technology orientation, in which they have learned the basic operations of the device, their responsibilities and digital citizenship.

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Teachers have also received training and in class support.  Many have already started using the devices to support instruction.  During this second phase of deployment, we have learned a few lessons  have caused trouble for teachers and students. The Tech Ready Team has created a troubleshooting guide to help with the most common technology glitches and difficulties. You can download the Tablet Troubleshooting Solutions guide for your convenience.

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Teachers are not the only ones that are learning how find solutions to technology difficulties.  Students are also learning to become excellent problem solvers and eager to help each other by showing off their troubleshooting skills.

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Challenges and technical difficulties are inevitable, especially when using new technology, but providing teacher support and finding solutions is a critical factor for success.  A BIG thank you to all the WUSD teachers for their participation and dedication!

You can teach your kids to be a maker, a creator, or an innovator with the Hour of Code

Would you like to introduce your students to the concept of programming computers?  Do you and your students not have any background in computer programming?  The Hour of Code is an initiative that enables you to introduce your students to programming concepts even if your students are absolute beginners.  Below is a promotional video.

This week is national Computer Science Education Week and you will see a link to the Hour of Code on google.com underneath the search box.  the  Hour of Code is an initiative to get 10 million students introduced to writing computer code.

How do I do it?


There is a website (code.org/educate/hoc) where there are currently 30 tutorials available to teachers to use with beginning students kindergarten through 12th grade.
You can participate in some of the tutorials without any access to computers.

However, the easiest way to get started is to look at the site, pick an online tutorial, and have your students work in groups with computers or tablets in your classroom, or take your students to a computer lab.

Finding Common Core, I mean AZ CCRS, activities.

Masteryconnect.com has released a new tool to help teachers find classroom activities that meet specific Common Core Standards.  The new tool is called Resource Pins.

Resource Pins is  a free service that allows teachers to post and view activities tied to specific Common Core mcStandards.  If you’re familiar with pinterest the layout will be familiar.  It has only been open to the public since the middle of November; however, there are already over 10,000 resources posted!

If you would like to try the service simply go to http://masteryconnect.com and click on the “JOIN FREE” button.  Once you have set up your free account, you will be able to access the Resource Pins.

  You will find the “Resource Pins” button on the top menu.  Simply use the search boxes to choose the Subject, Core, Class, and Standard categories.  If you wish to add Resources use the “Add Resource Pin” button on the top right.

Click the picture below to see a sample query for 10th Grade ELA standard RL.9-10-10

Resourcepins

Snagit

Snagit OneClick Icon

Snagit – If “Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words”, Screencasts Must be Worth a Million!

What makes a screencast such a powerful tool?  This emerging tool has tremendous benefits and potential for both teachers and students.  Not only can it facilitate student learning, it empowers both teachers and students as creators of digital content,  a fundamental skill in the 21st century.   As students transition from consumers of digital content to creators of digital content, they take greater ownership of their learning, increasing participation, and motivation.

Whiteriver Unified School District has made Snagit accessible to teachers.  The capture button is always available on the edge of their screen for quick and easy access.  Once a screencast is produced, it can be saved, edited, and shared through e-mail or the web.  Here is a few ways of how it can be used by teachers and students.

How Might Teachers Use Snagit?

Demonstrations – Teachers can create a video to describe a step by step process or explain a concept such as, creating a digital story, a science concept or finding a solution to a math problem.

Presentations – Teacher can use Snagit to capture content  to create engaging multimedia presentations that can be used in class or uploaded to their online class.

Having computer problems? Teachers can quickly and easily capture an image with the error message to show exactly what is happening on their computer screen and then email it to Technical Support or the IT Department.

How Might Students Use Snagit?

 To Foster Learning – Screencasts can be watched anytime, anywhere and can be paused or watch over and over.  It canhelp students learn how to use their time efficiently and also help them catch up on any missed sessions.

Student Projects – Students can capture online resources for research projects, web pages, and segments of videos.  They can highlight text and take notes within the capture resource.  Snagit can also be used to document the bibliography information and will even remember the URL to where it was taken from.

Showcasing – Students can show their work such as projects, presentations and strategies to problems to their teachers, peers, and to their parents.

For an introductory video on how to use Snagit to capture an image click on:  Introduction to Snagit Video

For more educational benefits and examples of  screencast read the Edublog, Screencasts Turn Students into Digital Teachers by Katy Scott.

What in the world is LearnZillion?

What is it?
Image LearnZillion is a free website available to you that combines video lessons, assessments, and progress reporting. Each lesson highlights a Common Core standard.
It’s only been around for close to two years but thanks to millions of dollars funding they currently have 2,000 lessons based on Common Core standards. Currently they are employing over 100 teachers to develop screencasts of lessons and assessments. If you’re familiar with Khan Academy, think of it as a kind of Khan Academy structured around the Common Core standards with videos created by master teachers across the country. Below is a screenshot of a LearnZillion lesson:ImageA Little History.
Here’s a quick history of LearnZillion lifted from their website, “We started LearnZillion at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. because we wanted to solve a problem. We knew what lessons our students needed but we didn’t have enough time to teach each student the right lesson. To create more time, and to share best practices across classrooms, E.L. Haynes’ teachers began to capture their expertise on screencasts. We posted them on a homemade website and coupled them with a short quiz to help us track student progress. Soon the idea grew. What if teachers from across the country could contribute to the site? What if new teachers could learn the new Common Core standards from the wisdom of experienced teachers? What if students could get a playlist of lessons that matched their needs? What if, over time, the video lessons got stronger and stronger, as more teachers contributed and the data showed which lessons had the biggest impact? Thanks to funding from the Next Generation Learning Challenge, New Schools Venture Fund, Achievement Network, and others, we are about to find out!” Here’s a link to a Marketplace article if you want to learn more.

Is it Really Free?
That’s the question I had. Yes, it really is free for teachers as well as parents. You do have to set up a username and password and agree to terms and conditions that require you to login every time you use the site. They make money by providing professional development and premium and customized features to school districts. However all of the content is available for free.

How Can I Use It?
LearnZillion has a couple of nice features. One is that you can “assign” a particular lesson. When you click the “Assign” button you get a unique number code. You can then post this code on your LMS page or give it to you student. When they enter the code in any search bar a student version of the video appears for them to watch. These links and codes can easily be embedded in your online classroom. If you find that you really want to use this resource for RTI, you can actually set up an entire class which gives each student their unique code that gives them access to the multiple lessons you’ve assigned them.

I see this as not just another web resource, but a common core resource that will integrate nicely with WUSD’s use of Galileo benchmarks, and the review of those assessments. It can be used in addition to the Galileo Intervention Tools.
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In Your Best Pinterest

This week brought exciting news for Teachers/Pinners. “Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies. Users can browse other pinboards for images, “re-pin” images to their own pinboards, or “like” photos.” (Wikipedia)

Pinterest launched the highly anticipated Teacher Page; a collection of boards devoted entirely to education. “Tons of teachers are discovering and sharing ideas on Pinterest. In fact, more than 500,000 education-related ideas are pinned each day. And, according to an annual survey by Edutopia, Pinterest is in the top five of professional development websites for teachers.” (Pinterest)

So, how can teachers use Pinterest? Most teachers would say they use it for lesson planning purposes. Many teachers also use it for classroom decor.  Some even allow the students to use Pinterest.  I could list the ways, or I could show you an infographic I found on PInterest.

 

Your Tech Ready Team is also launching their own Pinterest boards this week as well. Follow our boards as we will continue to pin ideas that you can use in your classroom.

What are your favorite pins?