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15 ideas for Using Tech in Math Class

Written by 30 March 2012

Looking to spice up your math classroom with some easy ways to incorporate a bit of technology?
Even if you aren't a math teacher, these ideas will get you thinking about some easy ways to add technology into your own classroom.

Add your own integration ideas in the comments area below.

NOTE:  All of these ideas came from the online course inside of the Teacher Learning Community called "Using Technology in Math".  Learn more about joining the Teacher Learning Community.


1.Bar Graph
As part of a unit on graphing, distribute colored candy such as M&Ms or Skittles. In a spreadsheet, have the students record the number of pieces in each color. On a graphing grid, have the students graph their results. Encourage the students to share their individual findings with the class. Then put together a class-wide graph on an overhead transparency highlighting any similarities or differences.


2.Yard Sale Flyer
Using a drawing application in a word processing program, create, or have students create, different geometric shapes of various sizes and print them on different colored paper. Working in groups, instruct the students to cut out the shapes and exchange them with each other and glue them onto paper in order to design a flyer for a yard sale. Let them use their own imaginations about the types of items they would have for sale. The students should write or draw on each geometric shape an item for sale and its selling price.


3.Multiplication Table
Using a spreadsheet application, make an 11 x 11 block graph grid. Skipping the first block, type the numbers 1 through 10 across the top row and in the first column--also skipping the first block--type the numbers 1 through 10. Instruct the students to fill in the multiples of each number in the table. Working with a computer and digital projector or by printing a master copy on a transparency and using an overhed projector, you can complete the chart along with the class.


4.Create a Unit Review Packet
Create a review packet for a unit using a word processor application. The packet should include a summary of each topic covered, as well as a list of vocabulary words or equations to be included in the test. The packet should also contain any graphics that will help reinforce the information being taught. You can scan images from a book and copy them into the document. Finally, add a practice test at the end. It might also be a good idea to include links to Web sites with more games, graphs, and other information that will help students prepare.


5.Build a Probability Chart and Graph
Have the students use a spreadsheet application to create a chart illustrating the tossing of a six-sided die 18 times to find the probability of rolling a particular number. Transfer the results into a bar graph. Share their charts and graphs with the class on overhead transparencies or combine them into a slide show presentation.


6.Track Consumer Spending Habits
Use a spreadsheet application to create a template for a household budget that starts with a monthly “paycheck” amount. Include on the template dollar amounts for housing, a car, food, gas, etc. Have students search the Internet so they can add other miscellaneous purchases that reflect their lifestyles and interests. At the end of the spending spree, have the students arrive at their final balance. Using a slide show application, share the amounts they ended up with and their decisions for their purchases.


7.Egyptian Pyramids Presentation
Using an electronic slide show application, create or have students create a multimedia slide show about the various geometric shapes used in the construction of the pyramids in Egypt. Be sure to incorporate as many different types of media as you can, such as text, pictures, music, and video to add interest. You can use a search engine such as mathforum.org to search for information about how different types of area and volume equations are used and why. Finally, use an digital projector to project the slide show onto a screen.


8.Digital Bulletin Board
Use a digital camera to photograph various right triangular shapes around the school campus. Encourage the students to take their own pictures of right triangles around their home, their neighborhood, even on vacation. Using the information in the pictures, write equations emphasizing the Pythagorean Theorem. If possible, use shapes that illustrate varying degrees of slope and write the equation. Throughout the unit, post the pictures on a bulletin board that can eventually be used for a test review. Incorporate the pictures into a slide show application. Add text and audio, and you have the potential for an entertaining and comprehensive unit review.


9.Mapping Distance
Superimpose a coordinate grid over a map of your county, which can be copied from the Internet using Mapquest.com or Yahoo! Maps. Have your students calculate the distance between cities, towns, or landmarks using the Distance Formula.


10.Create a Jeopardy-like Review Game
Create a game of "flash card" questions using a word processing or electronic presentation application. Assign a range of point values to each flash card. The easier questions are to be assigned lower point values, say 1 point, while the more challenging ones are given higher points, maybe as high as 10 points. Working individually or in groups, students will choose which question they want to answer based on its point value. The team that accumulates the most points wins.


11.Combine a Review Game with a Vocabulary Challenge
Using a word processing application, make a list of vocabulary words from the material to be used in the review game. Select a vocabulary word without letting the students know which one you picked. On the whiteboard or transparency, draw lines to represent each letter in the word chosen. Using the questions projected on a screen, allow a student or team that comes up with the correct answer to pick a letter that might be in the word. If they pick a letter that is in the word, they have the opportunity to guess the word. Continue the review questions until the vocabulary word is guessed correctly. This lesson could be used for "bonus" points after a review game or as an individual lesson to review vocabulary knowledge.


12.Graphing a Coin Toss Probability
Have students toss a coin at least 20 times and record the number of heads and tails. Use a pie graph to represent the percentages of the results. Extend the lesson to include finding the probability and odds of achieving a particular result based on their graphs.


13.Graphing the Rolls of a Die
Provide each student or group of students with a standard six-sided die. Assign each group a different number to roll for. Record the number of rolls it takes to get that number. Have each group create a line graph illustrating how many rolls it took to get the results.


14.Femur Bone Length vs. Height Scatterplot
There is a relationship between the height of a person compared to the length of his or her femur bone, which is located in the leg between the hip and the knee. It is also known as the thigh bone. Have students measure their legs from the middle of their kneecaps to the bone on the outside of their hips using a tape measure. Record these measurements in a three-row table with “Height” and “Femur Length” written in the first column beginning in the second row. The first row, starting in the second column, will contain the names of the students. Your unit of measure will be in inches or centimeters, depending on the units of the tape measure. Using the data in the table, plot your results on a scatterplot chart. The pattern of the scatterplots should show that the longer the femur bone, the taller the student.


15.Around the World Travel Log
Have your students plan an around the world vacation. Their travel itineraries should include at least six destinations, cross at least two time zones between each destination, and visit at least five continents. They can begin at any American or international city of their choosing, but they must end at the same location. Provide your students with a spreadsheet that contains a table with headings for “City,” “Time of Departure,” and “Time of Arrival.”

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