When sitting down to write my blog this month, I came across a great article written by Michael Gorman introducing you to an awesome STEM resource. Mike is a strong supporter of teachers and students with a concentrated focus on transforming education and bringing 21st Century Skills to every classroom. He was recently awarded the STEM educator of the year in Indiana, and when I saw this article on the Siemens Stem Academy website, I thought it was worth sharing. Do you want to see your students see real world math connections as they better understand math concepts? Then please keep reading!
Why do we have to learn all of this math? Well, the answer is not Go Figure. In fact, you just might find the solution at a website entitled Figure This. I am sure that you would agree that in our modern day society, high student achievement in mathematics is a top priority among educators, policymakers, and employers. Students will need more than basic computation and rote mathematical skills in order to compete in the future job market. Figure This promotes the idea that students must master the higher-level concepts and approaches to problem solving that are key to success in work and everyday life.
Figure this is the work of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, in cooperation with the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Widmeyer Communications, and the Learning First Alliance. This engaging website demonstrates challenging middle school mathematics and emphasizes the importance of high-quality math education for all students. While it was created to allow for family interaction, it is also figures into the STEM classroom. The site allows students to have the opportunity to face some every day real life math challenges.
These challenges feature:
- Descriptions of the important math involved
- Notes on where the math is used in the real world
- Hints on how to get started
- Complete solutions to the challenge
- A “Try This” section for formative learning
- Some additional related problems with answers
- An assortment of questions to think about with each challenge
- Really fun facts related to the math
- A database of resources for further exploration.
At Figure This, students are introduced to cartoon characters named Polygon, Tessellation, Exponent, Tangent, and Axis. These colorful personalities illustrate the challenge features that students will explore. Educators may view web versions of any challenge from the Challenge Index. It is also possible to download and print PDF versions of the challenges in color or black and white by visiting the Download page of the Web site. Teachers may also wish to visit the Teacher Corner for the full kit and some wonderful supporting resources. A click on the Math Index will introduce challenges by mathematical standard which is quite useful in the STEM classroom. Do you want to see your students see real world math connections as they better understand math concepts? With your guidance and instruction it is bound to happen as you give students some time to Figure This!