No More Rulers! Accessorizing Your Math Classroom

Done are the days of buying manipulatives, flash cards, and binder clips for your worksheets.  Math classrooms are changing for the better.  More schools are going 1-1 with iPads and Chrome Books, that means more technology in the hands of students and more hands on activities. Here we will go over a few supplemental tools you can use with your iPads or Chrome Books to push student thinking and engagement to the next level.

Adidas miCoach Soccer Ball (200$)
The adidas miCoach SMART BALL soccer ball helps you improve your dead-kick technique by providing instant feedback on the power, trajectory, spin, and strike accuracy of your kick. Featuring integrated sensors, the app-enabled miCoach SMART BALL tells you everything you need to know to improve your kick, while maintaining the weight and feel of a regulation size 5 soccer ball.  The miCoach SMART BALL app provides instant feedback on and analysis of your kicking performance. Watch tutorials to help you master new techniques, challenge yourself to apply power with control, attempt to replicate the kicks of professional football players, and save your best kicks each day.

The app provides great curved graphs and would be an excellent resource when graphing parabolas or looking at data.

94fifty Smart Basketball (200$)

The 94fifty basketball is a lot like the miCoach Soccer ball.  The basketball has a sensor that sends data like shot arc, shot release speed, shot backspin, dribble speed, and makes and misses.  Another great way to get students into parabolas and graphing parabolas.  You can also get the data used with scatter plots or probability and statistics.

Parrot Mini Drone (80$-100$)

Parrot Rolling Spider is an ultra-compact drone controlled by smartphone. It flies indoors and outdoors with surprising speed and stability. Acrobatic tricks are available from the free app for MiniDrones  FreeFlight 3. Drones are being used more and more in education and the FAA came out with new rules for drones, blog post to come.  I use the drone indoors to avoid any regulations with the FAA.

Mini drones like these are perfect for the Tickle app and introducing students to coding.  In the math classroom there are ways of explaining geometry, function operation, and trigonometry.

3D Printers (Polar 3D) (600$) 

Yes, this is a little bit more expensive, but wouldn't it be awesome if you could create manipulatives or students make something in math class.  Polar3D is a newer 3D printer that is focused on making them specifically for education.  Students can print trig functions, using scales to scale down buildings or self made maps, or a great activity where students 3D print their own weird dice.

Breakout Edu (100$)

Breakout EDU creates ultra-engaging learning games for people of all ages. Games (Breakouts) teach teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, and troubleshooting by presenting participants with challenges that ignite their natural drive to problem-solve.

Breakouts are perfect for classrooms, staff trainings, dinner parties, and at home with the family! At the end of a Breakout, your players will be eager for the next! Speciality K-12 Breakouts can be used to teach core academic subjects including math, science, history, language arts and have embedded standards that apply problem solving strategies within a real world OR collaborative context.  

There are great examples that use math in these breakout edu kits, you can find the parts on Amazon or you can look around at different places and find the stuff you are looking for about 20$ cheaper, but you don't get the cool box everything comes in.


MathChat is an excellent resource for teachers and students.  At our school some students do their best learning at home or late at night, when there is not a teacher present. On MathChat however there are students waiting to answer other questions as well as teachers.  

I can answer student questions at 9 o'clock at night or when I have a substitute teacher and I am out of the building I can help students that are struggling.  One new thing I have started doing in class is offering students extra credit offering their help to other students.  It provides them insights on steps and explaining their thinking.  

MathChat continues to update their product and is free on the App Store. You can find their website here: Wonderful resources all teachers should be using in their classroom inside and out.

Basketball Substitution

In class we were struggling with the concept of substitution, we already talked about it for two days, we did a vocabulary activity and guided worksheet to help them, but after the second day they were still struggling.  With basketball starting soon, we took to the 92' courts and made a little explaination of what substitute means in basketball.  

Then we talked about how good Michael Jordan was and what players on the court could have made the Bulls just as good as Jordan alone, we then could substitute in different players to see what the best possible outcome was. Here is a picture.

Students seemed to like the explaination a little more, we did a few more example problems and students seemed to understand.

Polynomial Puzzles

This week our focus in Algebra 2 was on Polynomials.  I have been searching for a project, but never seem to find any, but here are two activities we did this week. First to review factoring techniques we had a factoring polynomial puzzle that students completed in pairs.

Some students figured out that the pattern was Pythagorean theorem, one group did just put them in order from least to greatest.  It was a good activity I will have in class instead of homework next year.  

Here is the link: (free)

The other lesson was an Illuminations Polynomial Puzzler that had students practicing multiplication.

Here is the link: