Technology as an Entry Point

Thursday my algebra students had an introduction to playing some math games on the computers and exploring Math Munch. They were having fun competing on the games and showing each other the games they had found. They also made their way over to Cool Math Games on a link from Math Munch. They were having quite a bit of fun and enjoying the competition which is very unusual for this group. They usually keep to themselves and and don’t let on about what they can and can’t do so they don’t loose their “cool.”

Friday we had the computers again, and while I didn’t want to suddenly tell them exactly what they were going to do, I did want some focus on the learning. I found some reflective worksheets here, on math munch and decided to use this and allow them to find something of interest and utilizing the worksheet, share their find with the rest of the class, or at least another student in the class. (They don’t always like to share out in the full group as described above). I needn’t have worried. They couldn’t wait to share what they were finding, and were awed at the things they were reading and learning from the site. Several students never made it back to the games, they were so busy reading, watching videos, and following links to further information. I’ve never seen these students so engaged in something. The room was fairly silent again for quite a while, but for very different reasons than usual. They were truly interested in what they were doing.

Several of the students would call me over, “Have you ever heard of this?”, “Do you know anything about this?”, “Where can I find more information about this?” They were slapping each other on the shoulders trying to get the student next to them to look at what they were looking at. I had so much fun watching them. Better yet, in the pictures of student work you will see what I mean. These are students who rarely write more than a word or two when describing mathematical processes or writing explanations. But, look for yourself.

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