As I shared in my last three blog posts, this blog series, #TechUptheMath, will focus on six applications over the course of the next few weeks that I believe create transformative learning experiences in math. They take the learning targets and infuse technology in such a way that it does one or more of the following:

  • Visualize: Allows students to visualize the math concept in a way not possible without the technology

  • Multimodal Learning: Many of these applications offer students more than one way to share their thinking

  • Interaction: Many of these programs empower our students to interact with their classmates' or teacher's math thinking.

How can Gizmos #TechUpThe Math?

Gizmos is a math and science simulation program. According to their website, they are the "world's largest library of math and science virtual labs and simulations." I absolutely love this program for my grade 3-6 scholars, because not only does it use an inquiry based approach to learning, but it is aligned to all state standards. Teachers can easily search and find their standards to determine the best Gizmo to use. In addition, each Gizmos comes with a lesson plan, a student exploration sheet and even an answer key. These exploration sheets are perfect for self guided inquiry!

Seeing The Power of Gizmos

While coteaching lessons in my school this year, many of my teachers have done Gizmos lessons with me.

  • Ms. Bershadsky's class used the Fraction Garden Gizmo to help them order fractions on a number line: while Ms. Hutchinson-Smith used the Critter Count Gizmo to help her students with multiplication.

  • Mr. Kirkman and Ms. Sappington used two different Gizmos to help their students understand integers and how to add and subtract them..

  • Ms. Layton, Ms. Pritz, and Ms. Mangan used the Factor Trees Gizmo to explore prime and composite numbers.

A #TechUptheMath Highlight

One great example of why Gizmos tech ups the math is when Mr. Kirkman's class used the Adding and Subtracting Gizmos on a Number Line. When students initially learn about integers, it can be really confusing, especially while subtracting. But this Gizmo leads them through a process of discovery and helps them to see patterns and make connections between concepts. Students learn how adding a negative integer can also be represented by subtracting a positive integer.

In fact, after the class, Mr. Kirkman emailed me this note:

Awesome lesson today with the class! It helped to build a solid foundation as we begin our work with negative integers. Can’t wait for my next GIZMOs foray!

So how does this #TechUpThe Math and show VMI?

These #TechUptheMath lessons clearly empowered visualizing the math using the digital tools. Students were clearly able to visualize the math concepts that they were learning about using the simulations. Students were easily able to see concepts in a way that they could not without the assistance of the technology. Although this tool does not allow for multimodal learning or increased interaction, it is truly a visualization superstar!

Don't miss ExploreLearning's free 30 day trial for Gizmos if you aren't already using it, for details, click here.

Join me to #TechUptheMath and share your ideas

Over the next few blog posts, consider adding some of these tech tools into your math classroom. Check their VMI and see how they can transform learning. Post your ideas and successes using the #TechUptheMath and tag me @TannenbaumTech. I can't wait to see what you share! Did you miss Parts 1 ,2, and 3 check them out here: Part 1 , Part 2, and Part 3.