VEX Robotics

I was asked to coach my school’s robotics team this year and it has been an amazing experience, both for me and, especially, for my students. It all starts with STEM or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, (Art), and Math), which provides students with opportunities to explore their worlds through the eyes and thinking of scientists. Many schools offer Project Lead The Way (PLTW) courses such as design and modeling, automation and robotics, medical detectives, green architecture, flight and space, computer science and much more. Their courses are aligned for all K-12 grades and many universities offer guaranteed admission to their schools of engineering if students complete a PLTW course in high school. Partnered with PLTW is VEX Robotics, who makes all the components for the automation and robotics course. They also partner with industries like Chevron to provide robotics competitions, which allows students to use knowledge gained in their PLTW course in an engaging, real-world, application. The competitions start with county-level tournaments and progress to state and then to worlds. Read more… “VEX Robotics”

Math Study Resources

With different learning modalities and the many strategies taught through common core, it may be difficult to address every need of every student in a 50 minute class period, so there is a need for supplemental resources. In addition to the online version of textbooks, there are a few websites that offer excellent instruction. One such site is Khan Academy and it offers instruction across a broad range of subjects and grade levels. There are videos, quizzes, written explanations, and interactive materials. Another site is Prodigy, which is an action/adventure game that has standard-aligned math problems. In order to attack an enemy, students must first answer a question. Prodigy offers multiple worlds and students earn their way through different levels. They can choose the same world in which to play with or against each other. I’ve mentioned Desmos before as a great technology tool for teachers. It also contains activities covering different levels and topics that are aligned with common core. Once a teacher assigns an activity by creating a code, students can log in to the student site and make their way through the slides. Students can see what other students answered and in some activities, they can interact with each other.

Equality vs Equity

This is something that comes up a lot in education. How do we ensure all of our students are getting what they need to be successful and how do we ensure students feel that they are being treated fairly?

Math Learning for ELL Students

“Word Problem Strategy for Latino English Language Learners at Risk for Math Disabilities” by Michael J. Orosco, PhD, pages 45-53 of Hammill Institute on Disabilites


This is an analysis of the above article. This article explored different teaching strategies for facilitating English Language Learner (ELL) students in improving their math word problem comprehension. ELLs are at a disadvantage to native English speakers when it comes to proficiency in solving math word problems. These proficiencies arise from English being their second language, limited math vocabulary, and the lack of structured instruction for such learners.

This article focused on the effectiveness of using a Dynamic Assessment (DA) framework to evaluate a strategy called Dynamic Strategic Math (DSM), which is a procedure that uses differing levels of mathematic vocabulary in order to scaffold ELL instruction. Orosco proposes that math instruction should include direct instruction of math concepts along with visual representations of them in order to connect verbal to visual information. In addition, small group or pair work with the teacher should be included so that proper modeling of each concept is shown along with constructive feedback and assessment. Through DA, a teacher will facilitate a student’s learning through vocabulary scaffolding and building upon existing knowledge. Read more… “Math Learning for ELL Students”