NCTM Illuminations Activities


WordPress has been giving me battle for the last month about using red font.  You’d think either clicking red before typing, or highlighting the text after and clicking red would work.  Nope.   It hasn’t become annoying enough yet to switch blog providers, but the editor should just work for things like color selection.

But that is not the topic of this week’s post.  I rediscovered NCTM’s Illuminations Activity site.  Illuminations is a companion to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards documents.  They give examples of how to teach with the standards.  The activities give online applets that can be used to teach math concepts.  Currently NCTM has 102 activities.  I looked at 4.

I originally found a balance game that intriduced algebraic thinking to younger children- Pan Balances- Shapes.  Students try to find the weight of shapes relative to other shapes making their own trial weighings.  I used this in Math for Elementary Teachers in place of the pan balance worksheet I had used in the past.  A related activity actually let’s students work with equations.  It tracks the value of x, the value of the sides of the equation and draws to graphs made from the expressions that make up the two sides of the equation.

I then scrolled through the list of activities to see the variety there.  It ranges from topics such as learning factors of numbers and area sense to isometric drawing to finding a regression line for data.  I will browse there as well as the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives when looking for activities.

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