Think Globally and Locally, Mathematically

Student Explorations in Mathematics, formerly known as Student Math Notes, is an official publication of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and is intended as a resource for grades 5-10 students, teachers, and teacher educators. Each issue develops a single mathematical theme or concept in such a way that fifth grade students can understand the first one or two pages and high school students will be challenged by the last page. The content and style of the notes are intended to interest students in the power and beauty of mathematics and to introduce teachers to some of the challenging areas of mathematics that are within the reach of their students.

The teacher version includes additional information on world poverty as well as instructional ideas to facilitate classroom discourse. The student guides are available for free download (see below) but the teacher’s guides are only available with NCTM membership.

In the following activities from the May 2011 and September 2011 issues of the magazine, students use histograms and make comparisons between different country groups, then create graphs that compare these differences in many ways and consider how each of these displays might be used. In part 2, students consider important information about world poverty by using measures of central tendency and box plots. Students analyze data and use a hands-on manipulative to interpret and understand box plots, including the connection between percentiles and quartiles.

Part 1: Hunger at Home and Abroad (May 2011)
World Poverty Data can be downloaded here.

Part 2: Poverty at Home and Abroad (September 2011)
World Poverty Data can be downloaded here.


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Citizen Science Project: How Much Rain Fell in Your Backyard?

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is a network of volunteers working together to measure precipitation across the nation. Volunteers use high quality rain gauges and even “hail pads” to study hail storms. Volunteers post their daily observations on the CoCoRaHS web site. Observations are immediately available on maps and reports for the public to view. Hope you will get your classroom or family involved!

We Want Your Feedback
We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at msp@msteacher.org. Post updated 4/18/2012.

Common Core Mathematics Standards Resources

The Common Core State Standards for mathematics are still quite new. Many educators still have lots of questions about what they are going to look like in practice and how teaching and learning might change to accommodate them. An October 2010 newsletter from Education Northwest answers the following questions: What do teachers need to know about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? How will they affect teaching and assessing mathematics and English language arts? What are the benefits and what can teachers do now to prepare for implementation?

Additional resources specific to mathematics include:

The Common Core State Standards: Mathematics
Mathematics standards define what K–12 students should know and be able to do in math. While they are grade-specific, the standards do not define the intervention methods or materials necessary to support students who are well below or well above grade-level expectations.

CCSS Model Course Pathways in Mathematics
Achieve (in partnership with the CCSS mathematics-writing team) convened a group of experts to develop Model Course Pathways in Mathematics based on the CCSS. Four model course pathways were created, each of which is intended to significantly increase the coherence of high school mathematics courses.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Common Core Standards Implementation [1.5mb PDF File]
The adoption of the CCSS could have significant implications for teachers. NCTM has prepared a PowerPoint presentation to inform teachers and to support them in implementation of the standards.

We Want Your Feedback
We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at msp@msteacher.org. Post updated 4/18/2012.

Learning Modules for Ratios and Proportions

Our friends at the Ohio Resource Center have developed two new learning modules on the topics of ratio and proportion. These two stand-alone learning modules for ratios and proportions are online tutorials that provide engaging interactive problems, immediate feedback to answers, and real-world applications. Mathematics educators who are teaching or reviewing the often hard-to-learn topics can encourage their students to use the modules to support their learning. Each module comes in two formats. In the Student version, the user must correctly answer check-for-understanding questions before proceeding. In the Teacher version, the user can proceed without answering questions. Educators can direct students to a particular chapter within a module, or they can incorporate an entire module into their lesson plans.


We Want Your Feedback
We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at msp@msteacher.org. Post updated 4/18/2012.

Amazing New Collection of Hands-on, Interactive Resources

The Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, has launched an online collection of hands-on, interactive resources to help informal educators in nonclassroom settings, such as museums and science centers, engage school-age children in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology learning. The web site is called howtosmile.org.

The web site provides both an enhanced faceted and a visual search capability; list-making features that provide a public or private online space to collect favorite activities and add teaching tips and ideas on how to use an activity; user-contributed videos, and other creative community functions that encourage users to rate and comment on activities. Some activities are available in Spanish. Special activity collections target those with limited mobility and individuals who are vision impaired. Built using open source tools, howtosmile.org also includes an open infrastructure to allow institutions to contribute links to useful activities and a free widget to embed howtosmile.org search results on any web page.

We Want Your Feedback
We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at msp@msteacher.org. Post updated 4/12/2012.