I think math teachers get a bad rap. Students (and adults) are polarized in that they either love math or they think they can’t do math.The good news is that there are some amazing tools and resources available to inspire math in students of all ages. In previous articles, you may have remembered me pointing to resources such as Khan Academy to help master concepts. You may also have read about the importance of instilling a Growth Mindset in students, so they recognize that even if they may not be able to do math well now, if they keep trying they will get it.
I’d like to introduce another amazing resource. My friend Steve Wyborney has introduced me and many others to the idea of Animated Thinking in Math. When I first heard the phrase, I immediately thought of the animated cartoon of Wylie Coyote and Road Runner. When it comes to math, so many people identify with the Coyote. They are so close to getting the math concept and just when they almost have it the teacher says “beep beep” and takes off for the new concept.
Steve has introduced animations that are simple and free for educators. These animations also help students grasp concepts in a way that allows them to remain in memory for a far longer period of time. Wyborney has created PowerPoints and written books that help math teachers bring basic math concepts to life through digital manipulatives that make sense to students. If you have students who are not getting multiplication or fractions, or any number of the foundational pieces of math, I would encourage you to check out his website and try a resource or two that he is offering.