using iPads to demonstrate understanding of mathematical concepts

Posted on: January 26th, 2014 by jnovakowski

A team of teachers at Grauer are taking part in a collaborative inquiry looking at ways to enhance their math and science classroom experiences. This week, I visited Ms Poon’s and Mrs. Silva’s grades 4 and 5 classes.

With Ms Poon’s class, we asked the students to show what they knew about fractions. They told me they had learned about equivalent fractions and used the terms numerator and denominator as they described fractions. The students took photographs of materials in their classroom that would help them to represent fractions and then used the app 30Hands to annotate their photographs and narrate their explanations.

Here are two examples of the students’ recordings using the 30Hands app:

In Mrs. Silva’s class, the students have been learning about multiplication and division, using arrays to support their understanding. The students used mathematics materials to create arrays and then used the ShowMe app to take a photo and annotate and explain their array orally.

Here’s an example of one pair of students’ ShowMe:

Students that emailed off their files before the class ended used the iPad app Multiples (a MathTappers app) to practice multiplication facts. The Math Tappers apps are created by two UVic professors and correlate with our BC Math Curriculum.

In both of the above examples, the teachers and students can use “movies” created on the iPads as assessment information – to help understand where students are in their beginning understanding of these concepts, to see what mathematical language is or is not being used and to uncover any misconceptions the students might have.

A follow-up to these experiences might be to share some of the “movies” to the classes and ask some questions that extend students’ thinking around these concepts. For example, in the array video (7×7=49), the students mention having to add up the cubes to get 49. The class could be asked:
How does the array help you think of other ways to solve 7×7?

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