Category: Math

Math Scores Drop Again

Engaging children in math learning is a problem that continues relentlessly, year after year. We don’t seem to know how to fix the dropping math scores (and reading but that’s for another article). We can’t even blame it on COVID!  If you’d like to understand this trend more, check out Education Week‘s article:

Young Adolescents’ Scores Trended to Historic Lows on National Tests. And That’s Before COVID Hit

Math scores for 9- and 13-year-old students on the “Nation’s Report Card” declined sharply from 2012 to 2020, and reading scores remained largely flat, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress Long-Term Trend study released today…

Read more…

Ask a Tech Teacher has several articles in December that discuss this issue:


The Return to Rigorous Mathematics

One of my favorite PD sites, EdWeb, recently offered a free webinar (with CE Certificate) on Returning to Rigorous Mathematics. Here’s a preview:

As students return to a hopefully more typical school year, learning is likely to be anything but typical. Student and teacher experiences over the past 18 months have varied greatly and classrooms are filled with students representing a wider range of learning needs than ever before. The challenge for teachers is to help each student move their mathematics learning forward. While it will take time for most students to return to typical “on-grade-level” expectations, we must support students to move forward rather than picking up instruction where “regular school” left off in March 2020. Responding to this wide range of learners is part of the job in education; the pandemic has made this part of the work more prominent in many classrooms.

Read on (one of two parts)

I have several articles over December that discuss this issue (links won’t work until publication date):

What is ‘Technical Math’–December 10, 2021 (this article)

Returning to Rigorous Mathematics–December 16, 2021

Math Scores Drop Again–December 17, 2021

If you’re struggling with math success in your classroom, here are some more resources offered by Ask a Tech Teacher:


What is ‘Technical Math’?

The difficulties with engaging children in math learning grows each year. I have several articles coming up next week that discuss that issue (links won’t work until publication date):

What is ‘Technical Math’–December 10, 2021 (this article)

Returning to Rigorous Mathematics–December 16, 2021

Math Scores Drop Again–December 17, 2021

An excellent solution is to change the focus, teach kids what will be required. One of our Ask a Tech Teacher partners has a good article on that topic:

What Is Technical Math?

There’s an old joke about how kids are forced to learn algebra and trigonometry in school, but have no use for those subjects in real life. But in reality, that depends heavily on what kind of profession you choose to go into. A lot of professions you might think wouldn’t call for much math actually require it as a core skill set for certain trades, including plumbers, electricians, welders, and construction workers.

Why do trades like this require so much mathematics? These are supposed to be the jobs you don’t need extensive education for, right? Well, as it turns out, they’re not.

In fact, many technical trades require more math than some white-collar professions. Let’s look at welding, for example. To excel in their profession, a welder needs to understand and calculate concepts like material usage, which requires using fractions and sometimes algebra. They’ll also need to know how to use charts and graphs for some processes.

The same is true of construction workers, who must deal with equations, conversion of quantities, and taking measurements. In a typical workday, a construction worker may have to use equations to convert between units of measure, or use ratios to figure out the proportion of a roof’s length to its height. Getting some calculations wrong in construction work can have dangerous, if not deadly, consequences. In more advanced construction work (i.e. the jobs that pay well), they’ll even have to know some geometry.

The skills required for these sorts of jobs comes from a particular field, called “trade math” or “technical math.”


15+ Websites to Teach Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy Month is recognized annually in Canada in November,[1] and National Financial Literacy Month was recognized in the United States in April 2004,[2] in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach citizens how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.

When kids read that America’s $28 trillion+ debt is accepted by many experts as ‘business as usual’, I wonder how that news will affect their future personal finance decisions. Do they understand the consequences of unbalanced budgets? The quandary of infinite wants vs. finite dollars? Or do they think money grows on some fiscal tree that always blooms? The good news is: Half of the nation’s schools require a financial literacy course. The bad new is: Only half require a financial literacy course.

If your school doesn’t teach a course about personal economics, there are many online sites that address the topic as mini-lessons. Some are narrative; others games. Here are fifteen I like. See if one suits you (check here for updates on links):

  1. Banzai–financial literacy (free) online program
  2. Bartleby Economics Q&A
  3. BizKids–games to teach business and finance
  4. Budget Challenge–for HS and college
  5. Cash Crunch–games for youngers and olders (HS and college)
  6. Financial Football–as fun as it sounds
  7. Financial Literacy Quizzes–in a variety of financial topics for high schoolers
  8. Gen I Revolution
  9. H&R Block Budget Challenge game
  10. Life on Minimum Wage (a game–through TpT but free)
  11. Living Wage–what’s it cost to survive–by state, cities, counties
  12. Own vs Rent Calculator–plug in the numbers; see the results
  13. Personal Finance for MS
  14. Personal Finance Lab–stock market game
  15. Practical Money Skills
  16. Spent



Celebrate Pi Day with all things 3.14

Two math celebrations are coming up this month:

Pi Day

World Maths Day

Pi 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.


National STEM/STEAM Day Nov. 8th

National STEM Day is November 8 and the unofficial holiday celebrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education throughout the United States.

Here are some great ideas for celebrating:

Ten Ways to Celebrate National STEM Day with NASA | NASA

National STEM Day is November 8 and the unofficial holiday celebrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education throughout the United States. The day focuses on helping students advance in STEM fields, a priority of NASA as we continue to push the boundaries of exploration and soar into the future. In celebration of National STEM Day, we challenge you to engage and inspire the Artemis generation as we go forward to the Moon by 2024 and continue to innovate in the areas of Earth science and aeronautics. To help you join in on the festivities, here are 10 ways you can celebrate National STEM Day with us.

49 STEM Activities for Students 

On November 8th 2019, we will celebrate National STEM Day to get kids excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Together the STEM subjects represent some of the fastest-growing and most in-demand fields in the United States.

While STEM topics seem a natural fit in high schools and post-secondary curriculum, education experts are promoting a focus on STEM subjects for younger and younger children. You might be asking, what will a four or five-year-old student be able to understand about these subjects?


Why Game Based Learning Is the Right Choice for Remote Teaching

I don’t know many kids who aren’t excited to play games. Savvy educators have built lesson plans based on this interest for years. Today, because of the changes in education, the use of games to reinforce learning, to teach, and to engage students in their own education has become one of the most effective tools to bridge the gap between school-based and remote learning. Here’s what a joint study from Legends of Learning and Vanderbilt University found:

“…students who played the games outperformed their peers on standardized tests. Additionally, teachers saw dramatic increases in engagement and performance. “

In fact, 92% of teachers indicated they would like to use curriculum-based games in the future.

What is GBL

What is this magic wand? It’s called Game Based Learning (GBL). It simply means teachers include games in their lesson plans to teach curricular concepts. By using the games kids already love–want to play–GBL has an opportunity to turn students into lifelong learners who enjoy learning.

Good example of GBL: SplashLearn 

A good example of game based learning is the free-to-teachers program called SplashLearn. SplashLearn is an easy-to-use COPA-compliant, Common Core-aligned math curriculum for grades Kindergarten-5th that uses game-based learning to teach mathematical concepts. Students learn specific skills assigned by the teacher (to a group or individual) by playing age-appropriate, intuitive games based on appealing characters and fun interactions. These are welcome alternatives to the rote drill that many of us grew up on.


Stem Education in 2020

A growing focus of schools is STEM. Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Brianna, has some general observations about STEM education in 2020:

Stem Education in 2020

About two decades ago, the sciences were not so popular among younger generations. People keen on mathematics, physics, or IT were awe-inspiring and seemed to have supernatural abilities. But, the importance of sciences and technologies has grown; that’s why professionals in certain fields have become headhunters’ “targets.” The world’s workforce lacked a lot of science specialists, that is why STEM education became more popular.

So, what is STEM education? STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These subjects are being taught cross-disciplinary and in a complex which refers to real situations. This approach fosters the motivation of students which tend to make use of essay help service and tutors to have work done. You might think that there can be nothing new about STEM education in K-12 and higher education. Still, there are several facts you may want to know about.

The Role of Technology

The essential component in 2020 is a T-part of STEM – Technology. It is not only an object of education but a necessary and irreplaceable means of teaching STEM as well. For several years now, we observe a rapid growth of online and remote teaching, learning, and even practicing. Education in various disciplines has undergone significant change with the introduction of VR and AR into the classrooms. Now it is possible to create virtual reality and virtual laboratories for students to practice in. And this is only a small part of the technologies’ influence on modern life and education.

Grants and New Opportunities

Currently, numerous STEM courses and grants are launching in many universities and organizations. Moreover, famous corporations and brands are funding them, making it possible for students with limited financial possibilities to get quality education free of charge. Such examples are Ford Motor, Toyota Foundation, and Toshiba. They offer grants not only to students of higher education institutions but at a school level too. The NEA Foundation also promotes grants and projects to underserved communities that do not have access to a quality education process and resources.