Math Website Resources Reviewed!

Math Website Resources Reviewed!

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There are two weeks of summer classes left to go, and I am suddenly trying to swallow up this summer. In the past week I’ve been to the beach, Chicago Summer Dance (twice), the Farmer’s Market, the Square Roots Festival, the Printers’ Ball, and to see The Dark Knight Rises. I’ve also managed to complete quite a bit of homework, including a review of math resource websites. I tried to focus predominately on math resources that provided lesson plans that integrated another subject area. After completing the review, it seemed silly not to share the best of what I’ve found with other teachers. Below are summaries and links to some pretty creative math lesson plans. I’ve also included some pretty summer photos that are unrelated to math but completely related to all of the events I just listed above. Because really, who doesn’t love photos of Chicago? Enjoy!

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Site: Arts Edge
Math Content: Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Balance, Form and Function of Levers
Grade Level: 5
Arts Edge is an excellent resource for lesson plans for teachers run by the Kennedy Center. The site offers a lesson finder tool where you can look for projects based on grade, arts subject, or any content areas. The Alexander Calder Mobile lesson integrates math, science, and the arts by having the students successfully build balanced mobiles. Each lesson on Arts Edge includes the learning objectives and instructions on how to implement the activity. The lesson includes what prior knowledge the student should have before beginning. It lists the National Standards for Arts Education that will be met by this lesson. It also gives access to worksheets along with additional resources on the subject matter.

Site: National Gallery of Art
Math Content: Numerals, Counting
Grade Level: K-3
The National Gallery of Art has an extensive education page that offers numerous online resources for teachers. In addition to math and art-integrated lessons, this site offers arts-integrated writing lessons, arts-integrated history lessons, and arts-integrated ecology lessons. There are four math lessons offered for elementary level students and four math lessons for middle and high school level students. Pippin’s story integrates language arts, math, and visual arts. By completing the suggested lesson, students will learn about the African American Artist Horace Pippin, learn how to “read a painting,” write a story, and practice counting, addition, subtraction, and time problems based on a painting. The teacher resources include objectives, materials needed, lesson implementation, and ideas for assessment. There is a student activity page that is fairly interactive for each lesson and could be navigated without much direction from the teacher. There are also several printable worksheets available.

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Site: Illuminations
Math Content: Geometric Shapes, Positional Words
Grade Level: 3-5
Illuminations is run by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The site offers 108 activities and 607 lesson plans, all of which align with the N.C.T.M.’s Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. The site also offers links to over 700 online math resources, which are listed by different math topics. The Shapes and Poetry lesson integrates math with language arts. Each lesson lists the learning objectives, the materials needed (including links to worksheets), an instructional plan, possible extensions for future lessons, the aligned standards, and references. This particular activity has students reading a poem by Shel Silverstein, drawing the placement of the shapes as heard in the poem, and then making a comparison of their own illustration to the one that Shel includes in his book. The site offers three lessons that connect Mathematics and Language Arts. If these three lessons are treated as a unit, by the end the students will be able to recognize geometric figures, draw and describe geometric figures, interpret positional words, solve problems using the estimation of volume, and examine the need for a standard unit of measure.

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Site: Exploratorium
Math Content: Angles
Grade Level: 3-5
Exploratorium offers “things to make and do,” including lesson plans for hands-on activities, online interactive and videos. I looked at the portion of the site called the “Geometry Playground.” It offered geometry activities for both in and outside the classroom. It also offers numerous links to other geometry activities, crafts, and even artists who use geometry in their work.   Playground Patterns of Cracks includes simple instructions that are relatively kid friendly, along with a list of materials. Students will observe cracks on the playground, draw a bird’s eye view of what they observe, calculate the angles, and then determine what angle they see most frequently. There is also a science concept that could be integrated into this activity, as force applied to an area causes stress, which causes the playground cracking. Standards and supplemental materials would need to be created by the teacher to make this a fuller lesson.

Site: Seattle Art Museum
Math Content: Perspective, Dimension, Space, Plane
Grade Level: 3-5
The Seattle Art Museum offers resource guides for several of the artists that they have on display. The resource guides are in PDF form. While not highly interactive, the resources inside each PDF are extensive and provide all of the resources needed for a lesson plan that integrates art with another content area. The site had just one resource guide on their site that integrated Math and Art, so this site would not be regularly useful in a Math class. The lesson was interactive and engaging enough, however, that it merited inclusion in this website review. This particular lesson focuses on lines, perspective, and dimension in the work of Pablo Picasso. The lesson guide includes guiding questions that encourage deeper thought on the subject. The guide includes objectives for the lesson, a list of materials, steps for instruction, a glossary of terms, online resource links, appropriate Common Core Standards, and images of the paintings that the lessons suggests be used in class.

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Site: Acturial Foundation
Math Content:Patterns, Prediction
Grade Level: 3-5
The Acturial Foundation has an education mission. They offer teacher resources that focus on math for grades 4-12.  Their teacher lesson plans are available in PDF format, so there is no interactive component to their resources. Explorations in Pattern and Function in Nature is an in-depth unit that offers five activities that focus on the concept of patterns in nature. Each lesson provides the objective, detailed instructions, vocabulary, materials, appropriate standards, and activity worksheets. It also provides a quiz sheet for use at the end of the lessons. These lessons are so well laid out that not much else would need to be prepared by the teacher to go along with these lessons. They would make an excellent unit and would easily integrate with Science. The activities are hands on, very engaging, challenging, and meaningful. The activities also manage to integrate Language Arts through the use of a journal.

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These were the best sites I was able to find. If you’ve got any good sites, please feel free to share them in the comments below. I really enjoyed doing the website review, and I hope to be able to share more resources this fall. Have a great week, and maybe I’ll see you at Chicago Summer Dance!