Summer can be a challenging time not just for parents but kids. They are accustomed to cerebral challenges that keep them motivated and summer arrives with its sports, naps, and vacations. If your kids miss the thrill of problem-solving or if you worry about them sliding backward without the mental exercise that is integral to school, ORIGO has come up with seven fun math activities that use a blend of popular math apps and everyday activities (like cooking) to fill the summer break with the excitement of math:
Seven Fun Math Activities for the Summer Break
The long weeks of summer break are wonderful for family time and vacations, but not so wonderful at keeping students on a positive learning curve. The Summer Slide is a very real issue, especially in mathematics instruction where students lose about one month of learning during the break and in some cases, 2.6 months of learning.
You’ve probably read my reviews of Zapzapmath and Zap Zap Kindergarten Math, as well as the constant updates they make to their free (and freemium) app. This gamified math ecosystem is popular with students because it’s fun and teachers because it ties into many national and international standards (like Common Core). Its format is colorful and engaging, music lively, and layout intuitive.
Now, Zapzapmath has introduced a new option called Zapzapmath Home. These free grade-level apps for iOS and Android are aimed directly at home use to support students who want to learn math at home with fun games, enticing videos, and the same clever interface they experience in school. By gamifying math in a way that wraps personalized learning with real grade-level tools, Zapzapmath helps students change the way they think about math from an activity that occurs within the walls of the schoolhouse to one that can happen anywhere.
Zapzapmath Home includes a scaffolded system of seven apps, one for each grade level from K-6. Each app is free to download and comes with a couple of free games that provide a solid preview of how Zapzapmath teaches math, letting you decide whether it’s right for your child.
Throwback Pi Day–I’ll republish this post from last year, just to remind you of this wonderful mathematical day:
Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 since 3, 1, and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in the decimal form.
Daniel Tammet, a high-functioning autistic savant, holds the European record for reciting pi from memory to 22,514 digits in five hours and nine minutes.
America’s student math scores continue to drop. Headlines such as “Less than half of Maryland students pass English, math assessments” and “Internationally, U.S. Students Are Falling” have become so common, we are almost immune to the message. The knee-jerk reaction “That’s not my school; that’s someone else’s” has become the excuse for fighting efforts to fix kids’ math aptitude when those fixes are outside the box or difficult.
The problem is, tomorrow’s adults must be math proficient which means our kids must be. A preponderance of jobs today’s kids will get when they join the working world will require technology — and with that, the critical thinking developed by math. It’s no surprise conscientious schools are looking for more effective and reliable ways to teach that math.
If your school has decided that what’s always worked doesn’t and will be evaluating math programs to find one that provides a real solution to the math aptitude problem, here are seven of the most popular you want to include:
Now, Zapzapmath has made the experience even better with a long list of enhancements, in-game improvements, and an even greater variety of features. These are designed for all types of players from those who play at school to students who log on at a homeschool or through a family account. This is perfect for the many different ways students learn math, the wide variety of digital devices being used, and gives a nod toward the lifelong learner who is as likely to play math games because they love learning as that it’s part of teacher-directed activities.
There seems to be a limitless supply of online education content. In fact, my email box and social media explodes with them. But often, these offerings are too basic, a lite version of a paid program that isn’t terribly robust, confusing, or created by people who don’t really understand how to blend technology and education. As a busy teacher, I want resources that are clear, easy-to-use, accessible by all types of students, scalable, and fun.
I found that.
Understand, finding a reliable source is a big deal to me. I give potential new sites the seven-second test: If I’m not engaged and excited in seven seconds, I move on. If I have to work too hard to figure out how to use it, I move on. If it requires more than three clicks to access content, I move on.
WittyWe had none of these problems.
WittyWe is a K-9 learning environment that inspires students to become passionate about meaningful learning through engaging video content. Using techniques such as storytelling, resolving real-life cases, learning through play, and self-teaching, WittyWe covers academic topics such as science, social studies, law, economics, entrepreneurship, and engineering as well as life skills like time management, learning, money management, social awareness, healthy living, goal-setting, and leadership. The videos are arranged as themes, online courses, and/or guided suggestions through Ask the Professor. In this last option, students tell the Professor what they’re interested in by theme, grade, and difficulty level, and he suggests appropriate videos.
If you’re evaluating math programs at your school, a good option to consider is ORIGO Education’s Stepping Stones. Here’s one educator’s story about how Stepping Stones made a big difference with his students’ math skills:
Like many U.S. school systems, the Magnolia Independent School District in Texas serves a diverse student population. More than a third of its students come from low-income families, and one out of every eight students is an English language learner. Yet, the district has seen consistent and remarkable success in math achievement across all of its elementary schools since it began using Stepping Stones, a prekindergarten through sixth grade comprehensive math program from ORIGO Education.
Thinkster Math is an iPad based math tutorial program for K-8, aligned with Common Core and based on well-known international math programs such as Singapore Math. Offered in thirty countries and used by thousands of students, it teaches via digital worksheets, video tutorials, feedback from real (human) coaches, and a long-term plan developed with the student that encourages students to learn at their own pace, wherever they are, on a device (the iPad) that they love.
That last item is important — learn at their own pace. Research shows that often students succeed better when their learning is self-directed and self-paced. With Thinkster, students complete their math assignments wherever, whenever, and however it best fits their needs. They receive feedback from a personal tutor, badges for completed activities, game options to keep learning fresh, and prizes for achieving agreed-upon goals.
Lakeshore has long been a staple for preschool to sixth grade teachers looking for classroom supplies. Many education conferences I have attended, they were there, sharing their resources. Now, ORIGO Education is partnering with them to deliver their industry-leading math curricula. Read on:
ORIGO Education, a leading provider of mathematic curriculum programs for Pre-K–6 grades, and Lakeshore Learning Materials, a nationwide supplier of educational resources, announce their partnership to offer classroom resources for elementary mathematics teachers. The manipulative kits are paired with ORIGO’s Stepping Stones 2.0 comprehensive mathematics education program and help foster a better understanding of concrete math skills at an early learning stage.
Content specialists from ORIGO and Lakeshore created unique grade level kits that align with and support the newest edition of Stepping Stones for Pre-K through grade 5 classrooms. Manipulative kits contain visual and tactile objects to support coherent mathematics learning. For example, Kinetic Sensory Sand, developed by Lakeshore, and colorful teddy bear counters are two of 19 items found in the Pre-K classroom kit. Older grade kits incorporate geoboards, base-ten blocks, and geometric shape pattern blocks.
All orders will be fulfilled through Lakeshore. Stepping Stones catalogs may be requested by contacting Lakeshore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One more for you before you go: ORIGO has a great collection of math videos called One-Minute Mathematics. Here’s one that’s so simple, it’s immensely clever: