New BuzzMath Activity – Range, Interquartile Range and Box Plots

Range, Interquartile Range and Box Plots ›

The everyday expression ‘a wide range’  is generally understood as a reference to two ends of a spectrum–and all the things in between. This is much like the mathematical term range which refers to the spread of values in a data set; in other words, the difference between the greatest and least values.

The activity Range, Interquartile Range, and Box Plots teaches students to calculate range and interquartile range. Students come to understand maximum and minimum values, how to find  upper and lower quartiles, and use quartiles to find interquartile range. The activity explores the relationship between these values and the values displayed in box plots, as students practice creating box plots. The activity gives students many opportunities to practice finding and using range and interquartile range.

New and Improved Version of the Buzzmath App!

When you talk, we listen! We took all of your commentaries, requests and concerns very seriously, and we are proud to say that the Buzzmath app is now ready for high performance! You only have to update the app to enjoy the following improvements:

• Faster navigation between pages;
• New activities in 6th grade;
• When inside an activity, no more crash when selecting your units (ie: inches, meters, etc.);
• Teacher’s assignment bug fixed;
• To be consistent with the Buzzmath website, the Missions now require a number of stars to be unlocked;
• “Update required” bug fixed for some activities.

New feature on the Buzzmath website too!

A new introduction activity was added to the Buzzmath Lab. It allows the users to get familiarized with Buzzmath’s tools and features while learning more about the great adventure awaiting!

New BuzzMath Activity – Introduction to Absolute Value

Introduction to Absolute Value  ›

Upon meeting the scarecrow in the classic movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy asks, “Follow the yellow brick road?…Which way do we go?” The scarecrow replies, “People do go both ways.” Even though he didn’t have a brain, the scarecrow may have known something about absolute value! Absolute value measures the distance from a central point. In our case, that central point is zero.

In the activity, Introduction to Absolute Value, students find the absolute value of positive and negative numbers, as well as simple numeric expressions. They learn that the absolute value of any number is always positive, since distance is always positive. As students progress through the activity, they use ordering and comparisons with absolute values, and interpret real-world situations using absolute values.

Badges are currently available on BuzzMath.com but can’t be collected from the iPad version.

After a month of beta testing with more than 400 classes, the 6th grade badges are now available on all accounts! As of Tuesday, teachers can award process knowledge badges and 6th grade students can collect content knowledge badges. The 56 badges in total represent an opportunity for students to share earned knowledge and accomplishments as well as boost their motivation.

Teacher Quotes

“My grade 6s LOVE badges, and I think the grade 7s secretly do! I’ve seen them coming to class and asking each other “I got two new badges this weekend, how about you?” so I would think it’s a pretty successful feature.”

Marie-Nancy Bourque, Grade 6/7 FI Teacher, Kerrisdale Elementary School, Vancouver

I LOVE the badges!  It allows my students to focus in on a goal to attain that is more specific than a number of stars.  I also like how the sections are now broken up into Review, Badge Activities, and Enrichment.

Aimee Y. Burrus, Mathematics Teacher, Los Osos Middle School, California

27 Content Knowledge Badges

Content badges provide a comprehensive view of your student’s progress and accomplishments relating to the Common Core Math Standards.

Content knowledge badges are the core of the badge system. They are automatically awarded as students successfully complete a series of practice activities and one culminating activity relating to a specific concept. Credentials are listed for each badge, including the standard(s) it represents. These badges can be pushed to a student’s Mozilla Backpack, which provides a comprehensive view of a student’s accomplishments.

13 Process Knowledge Badges

Process knowledge badges acknowledge and reward students for positive behaviors that lead to mathematical success.

These badges are awarded by a teacher for observable positive learning behaviors such as teamwork and problem solving.

Achievement badges set small attainable goals for students and are intended to serve as motivational achievements.

Achievement badges are automatically awarded for reaching goals such as improved accuracy and quantity of activities completed. These badges are automatically awarded through the Buzzmath system and are displayed inside.

• New challenge activities can be unlocked in each topic. They will let students consolidate their learning by focusing on the important understanding, knowledge and skills presented in the CCSS.

• Students have a new “My Badges” section in their portfolio.

• We added detailed criteria pages to quickly see the requirements of each badge.

• We improved the way we have categorized the content in the 6th grade book to make it easier to access activities.

• A notification panel is featured to let students see and access their recent badges.

This is one of the first systems built in collaboration with Mozilla, the MacArthur Foundation, and HASTAC as part of their Open Badges initiative.

How to deactivate (teachers only)

The Badges are automatically added in Buzzmath. Therefore, if you don’t want to use them, you have to deactivate the feature. Here is how to do that:

• Open badges options by clicking on the Badge icon;

• Deactivate badges for a class by clicking the On/Off switch.

McGill Journal of Education publishes study on Buzzmath’s experimental probability simulators

An exploratory study on one of our top-secret projects, “La Fête foraine” (The Carnival), just got published in the McGill Journal of Education: Discussing virtual tools that simulate probabilities: what are the middle school teachers’ concerns?

Buzzmath is thrilled to be a part of this study, led by François Larose, of Sherbrooke University, in association with McGill University and Moncton University. The project allowed us to develop probability simulators and learning situations intended for middle school teachers and students to explore the amazing world of probabilities as well as helping kids think about luck, chances, randomness, and gambling.

With the help of middle school math teachers, a school board consultant, and specialists in technological education, we have developed eight simulators for the students and integrated four of them in learning and assessment situations under the French theme “La Fête foraine” (The Carnival):

·         the Monty Hall problem (our favorite);

·         a lottery simulation game;

What we love about simulators is that they often produce surprising and counterintuitive results, which is very engaging for students.

Furthermore, a case to case and visual approach allows the students to understand what’s happening when a dice is rolled up to 1000 times. This way, the simulator doesn’t become a black box for them. Simulators used in the other learning situations are also available for them to analyse. Take a look at them here, here, and here.

Beyond the learning outcomes specific to the mathematics curriculum, teachers said that the simulators could help students develop their critical thinking toward games of chance and gambling.

This is an experimental project, but given the very encouraging results, we think of eventually integrating “The Carnival” to our Buzzmath content. If you want to be one of the first to try these new tools, write us at support@buzzmath.com.

Reference:

McGill Journal of Education

Annie Savard, McGill University

Viktor Freiman, Moncton University

Laurent Theis & François Larose, Sherbrooke University

Did Chicago Steal Buzzcity’s Mathematical Genius?

One member of the Buzzmath team recently visited Chicago, IL, and noticed how much the Windy City resembles mysterious Buzzcity. Just like the chaotic and disordered place that has become Buzzcity, it seems that the architecture of every building in Chicago was carefully created from a mathematical point of view.

Furthermore, Chicago was destroyed by a terrible fire in 1871. Like Buzzcity, it had to rely on experts to reconstruct. Those experts were brilliant architects who used a revolutionary technology (back then) that allowed them to push further the limits of height: steel frames.

We spotted many skyscrapers and other buildings using well-known notions of mathematics, geometry for the most part.

Triangular prisms

When you think about it, all buildings are built on a prism base, generally rectangular. However, Chicago is full of triangular buildings, like this one:

This one is the 200 South Wacker Drive, an office building that was built from two triangular prisms joined together at hypotenuse.

Only in Chicago can you find such a stylish correctional center (from an outside point of view, of course)!

Harry Weese, the architect that imagined the correctional center above, was a triangle passionate, we can tell! He designed the one-of-a-kind houses that go along the Chicago River, the River Cottages. Their base, the three first floors, are conventional rectangular prisms, but the upper floors consist in a triangular prism with the hypotenuse facing the river. The slant roofs also present equilateral triangles forming a metal and glass alternating mosaic. Last but not least, take a look at the porthole style circular windows along the roof. Amazing!

Yes, we know, this one is not EXACTLY a triangular prism. Nevertheless, Lake Point Tower hides a triangular core that holds all of the vertical weight of the building as well as its three arms which form an asymmetrical Y-shaped floor plan. Those three arms are 120° apart and strategically curved so that the residents can’t peek inside their neighbour’s condo! From a farther point of view, you are looking at a beautiful concave based solid of revolution that seems to imitate the waves of Lake Michigan.

Other shapes…

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange Center is another impressive building. Its twin towers are separated enough to let the powerful breeze of the Windy City pass between them. We can’t forget its octagonal icon which represent the interior open outcry trading floor of the same shape.

The slope of this building is…

The Crain Communication Building’s unusual inclination allows to show the roof’s characteristic shape. That would explain its nickname, the Diamond Building. In fact, if you look close enough, you’ll see that the roof is not exactly in the shape of a diamond, but that the latter is separated in two almost identical triangles. Would you be able to calculate its slope?

Who said we needed right angles?

Mies Van Der Rohe, a well-known architect, has himself contributed to the reconstruction of the city of Chicago with his “skin and bones”, minimalistic style. He is mostly famous for his impressive structures of steel and plate glass, such as the Kluczynski Federal Building.

However, not everyone was thrilled with his style. One of his protégé rebelled against the “less is more” way of doing things, and created a more than original residential building without right angles! We instigated, and we still found some of them… can you?

Let’s do a little addition now, shall we?

It seems that buildings communicate in Chicago! We already introduced you to the Kluczynski Federal Building, well, right next to it are two tower that couldn’t be more at its opposite. Showing a cylindrical shape, they were designed to look like corn cobs! We can see the parking spaces in the lower part, and apartments with half-circle balconies constitute the upper part.

What’s our point? Well, we are glad that you ask! To an addition, one or the most simple algorithms! See for yourself… What do we get if we add the two building together?

We get the Aqua, the tallest building in the world with a woman as the lead architect, Jeanne Gang. The distinctive feature of this skyscraper stands in its irregularly shaped concrete floor slabs of almost 12 feet of width, which lend the facade an undulating quality inspired by the Great Lakes.

What about you? Have you ever observed buildings that demonstrate the use of mathematics in such a spectacular manner?

New BuzzMath Activity – Writing Algebraic Equations to Solve Problems

Open Writing Algebraic Equations to Solve Problems  ›

Need to determine how much more money you will need after you add up your birthday money to buy a brand new laptop? Maybe you are in charge of a fundraiser and need to determine each person’s contribution. Writing Algebraic Equations to Solve Problems gives students the practice they need to solve these problems by identifying and explaining the steps needed to write and solve algebraic equations. This activity not only provides practice but allows students to be more aware of situations where algebraic thinking can be used to solve problems in their life.

In this activity students begin by identifying important information in a problem and then determine what is missing and how they are going to find it. This activity provides numerous opportunities for students to write and solve algebraic equations.

New BuzzMath Activity – Line Plots

Are you keeping track of how many times your students forgot to turn in their assignments? Do you take note of how many times your students are late to class? If so, you have perfect data to display in a line plot. If you are looking to visually represent the frequency of data along a number line, a line plot is the graph to use.

In the activity, Line Plots, students will create, interpret and analyze line plots. They will have the opportunity to record individual rolls of their own number cube and represent their findings in a line plot. They will also analyze existing line plots and answer specific questions relating to that plot. This activity provides great practice for students exploring line plots.

The Badges are coming!

Almost a year and a half ago, BuzzMath was selected as one of the winners of the MacArthur Foundation-funded Digital Media and Learning Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition. Since then, we’ve been working on the creation of a digital badge system to explore how badges can be used to help students learn, demonstrate skills and unlock opportunities. For the next school year, 6th grade badges will be available! The implementation of the 7th and 8th grade badges will follow. You can see the full list of badges and their criterias on this page:

Starting in October, schools will be able to activate the badge system for their students. Can’t wait until October to try it? We are looking for some classes to test the system in September.

Send us an email to be in the first schools to collect Buzz Badges!

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New BuzzMath Activity – Finding Percent of a Quantity

What percent of your total day is spent looking for awesome new math activities for your students? This new activity will give your students the opportunity to explore finding percents of different quantities with multiple visuals. They will use hundreds grids, tape diagrams, and double number lines as they find the best discount available for a new cell phone and determine the availability of sneakers at the sporting goods store.

In this activity strong visuals provide a solid foundation for this concept. As they progress through this activity, they will begin to use proportions to solve the questions. Finding Percent of a Quantity concludes with problem solving questions that allow students to see when this concept could be used outside of the classroom.