Posts tagged ‘Elementary Math’

March 13, 2013

New Tumblehome Learning/’Mixing in Math’ Partnership Broadcasted in Times Square!

New Tumblehome Learning/TERC partnership broadcasted over Times Square!

New Tumblehome Learning/TERC partnership broadcasted over Times Square!

This past week, the question circulating around TERC’s physical and digital hallways was this: “Is that photo I saw on Facebook real?”

It is indeed! Our news release on the new Tumblehome Learning/’Mixing in Math’ partnership, announced by PR Newswire, was transmitted to the Reuters Sign in Times Square multiple times Tuesday through Friday of last week. Perhaps if you spent afternoons last week in Times Square, you may have caught a glimpse of the Food Fights, Puzzles, and Hideouts book cover!

So what’s this all about? Tumblehome Learning (THL), a non-traditional transmedia publishing company, has partnered with TERC to publish a ‘Mixing in Math’ suite of games and activities. Developed at TERC and based on work funded in part by the National Science Foundation*, these additions to the THL product line of science books and games include the book Food Fights, Puzzles, and Hideouts and the sets of games Jump Ship and Blockade. Spanning the key topics in the elementary grades’ Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, the products help parents, homeschooling families, librarians, and afterschool providers engage children ages 4-12 in the math of everyday activities.

In fact, Food Fights, Puzzles and Hideouts presents hundreds of full-color interdisciplinary math games, projects, and activities that can be done at home, at after-school programs, at school, or ‘mixed in’ to car rides, snack times, and parties. With the card deck Jump Ship players get nine fast-paced games and 22 different levels of play, and  Blockade packages eight dry-erase board games for 2-4 players and offers 28 game options.

Want to learn more or order any of these products? Please visit the official press release, or Tumblehome Learning’s site to order any of these resources for math learning at prices of $10.95 and under.

* ‘Mixing in Math’ has been funded in part by the National Science Foundation, (ESI-0406675, ESI-0714537, ESI-9901289), and has been extensively piloted with children, parents, and informal educators, including after-school providers, librarians, and family numeracy providers. Independent evaluation shows that the materials improve attitudes about math and build math skills and engagement among adults and children.

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December 13, 2012

‘Mixing in Math’ Goes to Mom’s Homeroom!

We want to show (parents and kids) that there’s a lot of math in the things you already find fun!—Marlene Kliman, Mixing in Math

By most accounts, we consider modern, involved parents very lucky. Today’s parents have access to a vast array of products, resources and technologies to facilitate math learning for their children. But excess of choice comes with a high cost.  Research shows that too many choices often leads people to be less—not more—satisfied once they actually make a decision on a product or methodology. And ready access via the world wide web to research studies indicating the importance of informal math learning in fortifying everything from students’ conceptual understanding in the classroom to future STEM career pathways often makes parents feel MORE pressure to make the right decisions on math teaching products and techniques. Thus many parents in our LeapFrog®-inundated era encounter the following conundrums:

“What are the best tools and products to be using to help my kids become comfortable with math?”

“How can I help my kids become comfortable with math at home if I am not comfortable with my own math skills or if I didn’t like math as a kid?”

The answer is much more simple than many parents think. You can ‘mix in’ math— from measurement to estimation to algebra—into activities that you’re already doing with your kids using supplies you already have around the house. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Creating these tips, techniques, methodologies and activity adaptations is exactly what TERC’s Mixing in Math(MiM) project team has been doing for years. MiM Senior Scientist Marlene Kliman says it best, “we want to show (parents and kids) that there’s a lot of math in the things they already find fun!”

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Click the above image of Marlene to visit Mom’s Homeroom and view the video!

In fact, Marlene—along with a local family—was just featured in a new video for Mom’s Homeroom— an online resource hosted by MSN and Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats—showcasing some of her favorite MiM activities for parents to easily implement into their kids’ everyday routines. Marlene shared 3 (of the roughly 200) MiM activities including Penny Jar, Soaring Towers, and Fair Shares that could be scaffolded up or down for varying age ranges (preK to 5th grade) and math comfort levels.

Even better? All MiM activities are free, offered in English and Spanish, equally adaptable for classroom or informal settings, and available at: mixinginmath.terc.edu. Be sure to check them out and download your favorites—they’re kid-tested and mom/dad-approved!

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September 19, 2012

Now Showing: A ‘Mixing in Math’ Webinar!

Mixing in Math (“MiM” for short) is a set of over 200 free, easy-to-use, and Common Core-aligned activities that situate math in the context of everyday experience. Aimed at ‘informal educators’ of children in grades preK-6 (including librarians, after-school providers, and parents), MiM activities comprise craft projects, posters, calendars, and games and span the topics of arithmetic, measurement, time, money, and patterns. MiM activities can be incorporated into an array of afterschool and informal settings, including game nights, story-times, or project times and adapted to groups of varying sizes—from 1 to one dozen. The MiM activity catalog has been developed with the input of hundreds of librarians and informal educators across the country.

MiM Senior Research Associate Nuria Jaumot-Pascual and the White Plains (NY) Public Library’s Children’s Librarian Deb Gaffey have presented many interactive MiM webinars. These hour-long offerings engage adult participants in doing MiM activities together and propel sharing of implementation and adaptation techniques. You can view one of their most recent webinars below, or by clicking here:

Full of great—and duly, accessible—tools and tips, this webinar helps kids AND the adults who work with them gain confidence and competence in math. If that’s not a compelling enough reason to tune in and give MiM a try—external evaluations found that after using MiM for an average of 1-2 years, 90% of librarians cited math as a “strong priority” in children’s library programming vs. 25% at baseline. AND MiM helped 75% of afterschool educators improve their abilities to engage children in math—with the same percentage reporting that children improved their math skills, enjoyment, and comfort. Looks like MiM got the “mix” of math and fun just right!

To learn more about MiM impact, download activities for free, or pick up a training guide, please visit: http://mixinginmath.terc.edu.

July 17, 2012

“A” is for Algebra, “E” is for Elementary; (E)(A)=The State of Current Research…

Linear algebra was always my mathematical strong suit—heavily relied upon, as it barely shrouded my thin quantitative undershirt. This surprised my artist mother somewhat. She had always assumed —visuospatial as I was—that I would be better matched to the more ‘creative’ study of geometry or even abstract algebra. But to me, linear algebra WAS creative, in a predictably pretty sort of way—its mastery relied on using elegant variables to represent the unknown—and each composition (equation) relied on the perfect visual balance between constants and variables.

When I did embark on the ‘creative’ territory of abstract algebra, I was confronted with polynomials, matrices, and an increasing amount of variables as compared to a dwindling amount of numbers. Suddenly, even my grasp of linear algebra became muddled and mired like a bad painting. ‘Creativity’ must have its bounds, because I still don’t particularly understand abstract algebra…or abstract art, really…

Rubik’s Cube group structure (abstract algebra) + Piet Mondrian’s abstract paintings=my confusion CUBED! Image courtesy of: bit.ly/MGdFT1

Truth be told, algebra was also my mathematical weak suit—full of holes at the seams. I had struggled with math throughout elementary school and middle school, relying on iterative reasoning and memorization to get me by where true number sense failed me—and I was an “A” student. Fortunately, researchers are now investigating how early algebra can be introduced to (and understood by) elementary students to prepare them for ‘big A’-Algebra.

Exploring Children’s Understanding of Functions (CUF) is one such initiative. CUF is a research collaboration between TERC and Tufts University exploring how children in grades K-2 understand functions as a context for early algebra. Project researchers have pilot tested teaching experiments among young elementary students, and have observed that K-2 graders are an optimal audience for grasping early algebra.

That’s right—5-7 year olds. So what is it about these tykes that make them so good at algebraic thinking?

It may be that K-2 graders don’t have a lot of mathematical baggage—that is, they don’t solve problems by relying on recursive relationships like many of their upper-elementary brethren (or, ahem, I) do. Early research observations suggest that they do not have strong aversions to or misconceptions about using variables—and seem to be equally at ease using symbolic notation (variables) and natural language to talk about math problems. And project researchers noted that the K-2nd graders in their sample were more likely to represent a function rule as an equation (e.g. R + R=V) rather than an expression using syncopated language. Wow!

So perhaps 5-7 year olds can be harnessed as truly ‘creative’ algebraic thinkers in newly-pressed (but maybe slightly oversized) mathematical strong suits. That sounds like a lot fewer holes for the budding mathematicians of tomorrow!

To learn more about Exploring Children’s Understanding of Functions, check out: http://www.terc.edu/work/1665.html

April 19, 2012

NCSM and NCTM 2012, Here We Come!

Hello, math-educator friends and colleagues! This next week, TERC staff will be attending and presenting at the 2012 NCSM Annual Conference and the 2012 NCTM Annual Conference —two of the largest math education events in the country. Join us in Philadelphia for over 10 staff presentations, Monday, April 23rd-Friday, April 27th on topics ranging from intervention strategies in the elementary classroom to framing the Common Core State Standards within elementary teaching practices to measuring and aligning early algebra learning in the elementary and middle grades.

Click to download the official listings document and descriptions!

This year, the theme for NCSM (April 23-April 25) is “Life, Liberty, and Mathematics for All: NCSM Leads the Way” with 5 presentation strands including:

  • (1) Bridging the Knowing-Doing Gap: Implementing the Common Core State Standards; 
  • (2) ALL Means ALL: Promoting Equity in Mathematics Education;
  • (3) Mathematics Leaders Translate Vision to Practice: Developing and Supporting Coaches, Specialists, and Teacher Leaders;
  • (4) Making Mathematics Learning Visible: Implementing Formative and Summative Assessments to Support Student Learning;
  • and (5) Leadership to Enhance Mathematics Teaching and Learning for All: Helping administrators and other leaders support high quality mathematics instruction.

This year, NCTM (April 25-April 28) will offer over 700 presentations, special strand sessions pertaining to new technologies, and an exhibit hall with vendors, organizations, and—TERC, at exhibit booth #452! Stop by to check out some of our newest math and numeracy publications, informal math research projects, disabilities education tools, and online gaming and new media endeavors for K-adult audiences.

Travel safe, and see you next week!

April 5, 2012

Sometimes, You Judge a Book by Its Cover…

…and it wins!

TERC’s staff is comprised of researchers, developers, evaluators, mathematicians, scientists, educators, designers and—authors. In addition to the array of deliverables borne of the research endeavors here, the list of STEM-related books by TERC staff is substantive—and downright comprehensive.

That said, it might surprise you to learn that a TERC-authored book recently won an award for its cover design. But that’s exactly what happened with Susan Jo Russell’s (TERC), Deborah Schifter’s (EDC), and Virginia Bastable’s (SummerMath for Teachers) Connecting Arithmetic to Algebra, recently published by Heinemann. The book cover below was a Bookbuilders of Boston winner in the ‘Professional Covers’ category and will be featured at the 55th Annual New England Book Show on Wednesday, May 2nd, at Boston’s Symphony Hall.

 

 

Be sure to check out this great accompanying essay (or click on the image below) by Susan Jo appearing in the Heinemann catalog. She examines one classroom technique for connecting a 2nd grade addition and subtraction lesson to the properties of operations—AND the Common Core State Standards. For many more of those helpful classroom examples of connecting arithmetic to algebra in the elementary and middle grades, pick up a copy of Connecting Arithmetic to Algebra at Heinemann.