Ms. Koppen's Genius Hour Project

Technology in the Middle Grades Math Classroom


“What are ways to incorporate technology in a middle grades (4-8 grade) math classroom to help students better grasp the concepts they are supposed to learn?”

The Project

As a future Middle Grades Math and Science Educator I was excited to get to work on finding a variety of forms of technology that could be used in a middle grades math classroom. After using the online library search database, Twitter chats, communicating with specific educators on Twitter, interviewing a parent with a student in a classroom filled with technology, and doing some further research myself, I was able to find the answers I was looking for. Rafranz Davis, a Google Certified Teacher, gave me some of the best advice for approaching my question. With this advice (provided below) I was able to make sure students were given the experiences to truly relate to math by finding some of the best technology for them to use.
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Online Math Programs

WebAssign, Big Ideas: Math, Khan Academy, Buzzmath, TenMarks (an Amazon company), and Olympus Math are all online math programs that students can access in and outside of the classroom. These programs provide math instruction for a variety of courses. Homework problems, instruction videos, an online textbook, practice problems, quizzes, and tests are all accessible on these online programs. No more having students transport their textbooks to and from school. Progress can also be tracked easily by teachers on these programs. Say goodbye to paper and pencil! With these math programs the entire course is online with further instruction provided in class by the teacher.

Highly Rated Apps for the Math Classroom

Math Game Apps: Teachers are using these games as opportunities for students during indoor recess!

Math Drills: With Math Drills each student has their own settings and test score history. Students work on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division on their devices. With up to 50 students in one Math Drills section, teachers can track their students' progress along the way. $4.99 in the app store.

Sudoku Daily: When students have finished all of their work in the classroom give them an opportunity to have fun but while practicing their basic fast math skills at the same time. Sudoku Daily provides students with 9x9 number puzzles at 16 different difficulty levels. FREE on the app store.

FactorMan: This is a game every student will love. Battle it out against FactorMan to earn as many points as you can but limiting the number of points he can earn. This is a game where students will practice the factors of numbers 1 to 100. Warning: you won't want to stop playing! FREE on the app store.

MathTappers: Equivalents: For students who are working on percents, decimals, and percents, this is a great game to practice finding equivalents. Students are shown a variety of different things such as pie charts and number lines to locate all of the equivalents. Great quick game students can use for practice. FREE on the app store.

Pick-A-Path: This is a fun game for students where they help Okta the Octopus reach a final target by locating the correct path. Pick-A-Path is all about strategy and how your students work with a variety of things such as decimals, fractions, powers of ten, etc. FREE on the app store.

Miscellaneous Math Tech Tools

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The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM)

A resource for all educators to enhance their own lessons!

Tips & Advice from Professionals!

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Some of the best advice, tips, and opinions I was given about technology in the middle grades math classroom were from a middle school math teacher I connected with on Twitter. I was recommended by an educator in the Twitter chat I was participating in to get in contact with @mathycathy. Cathy Yenca is a math teacher that uses technology in her classroom everyday. She shared her opinions with me about her favorite types of technology she uses and directed me to her blog. Her blog was a great resource and is filled with advice and experiences she has had in her own classroom while using technology.

David Moss: Teaching Math Using Technology

This Wordpress Blog is straight from another teaching professional. David Moss provides helpful resources to help teachers incorporate technology into the classroom.

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"Why Teachers Must Go Mobile" - by Angela Pascopella

This article is all about why cell phones should be incorporated into teaching in schools. "For Norris, cell phones answer one-to-one computer use. 'If you give children a way to do their lessons which is comfortable and in a way they enjoy it, they will spend more time on it. And then they will learn more.'"

Check out Conrad Wolfram's TED Talk on teaching math with computers!

Interested in learning more about Khan Academy?

Check out the article, "A Bold New Math Class" written by Salman Khan and Elizabeth Slavitt that provides all of the data, tools, and insight on this online instructional program.

They both say that "Khan Academy offers just what students need—the opportunity to learn at their own pace."