Kids need to relate to real life experiences to learn and as a teacher I strive to make those connections when introducing new concepts. This week in math we are working on conversion; learning the basics of converting gallons to quarts, to pints, to cups, and vice-versa. Before I even think about introducing the math involved, I want students to be “prepped” by building their background knowledge. So, we begin our introduction to the lesson with our class friends, Tim and Moby, from BrainPOP.
Together we watch the Customary Units movie and pause as needed to discuss. This adventure with Tim and Moby gives us solid mathematical information and a real life historical perspective; we learn that customary units are older than the metric system and that the U.S.A. never converted over from the older Imperial System. Students also learn that customary units were originally used in agriculture and trade, long before the metric system came into use. The information provided on measurement and volume activates their knowledge, so they are ready for the remainder of the lesson.
To provide reinforcement of what we just learned and to prepare students for the meat of the lesson where we will be practicing conversions, we reference another incredible resource, The Khan Academy. Sal Khan has taken difficult math, science, humanities, and test prep concepts and explained them in a simple easy to follow tutorials via organized YouTube video lessons. His academy has also launched a free app, Classroom in Your Pocket, bringing his video tutorials into the hands of students!
Instead of using the app for this lesson, we used our computer to view the Converting Gallons to Quarts, Pints, and Cups video – a five minute segment that succinctly explains how the conversion of units is done in mathematical terms. Together we watch, listen, and discuss as he gives us a step-by-step tutorial explaining the process with simple diagrams and smooth articulation.
Now we are ready to delve into mathematical practice! Several arithmetic problems are modeled with my students on my SmartBoard. Students are then broken into small groups and problems are assigned for collaborative class work. The answers are discussed in each group. For those students that need to extend learning, you can turn back to BrainPOP and assign the FYI section, the vocabulary page activity sheet, or the related movies as an added bonus.
When you integrate both BrainPOP and the Khan Academy into your lessons, you not only add two valuable 21st century educational resources to promote student learning, but you also make those critical real life connections!
Do you know of any helpful apps, resources, or ideas for teaching math? Post a comment below.Jayne Clare and Anne Rachel www.i-itch.com teacherswithapps.com