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Free Tools to Support the Science and Math Connection

By: Judy Zorfass and PowerUp WHAT WORKS

Introduction

A professional learning community (PLC) that meets regularly is ready to focus their attention to the math/science connection. They want to deepen their growing knowledge base about technology integration. See their previous discussions based on exploring PowerUp What Works:

In advance of their meeting, Arayle, Caroline, and Michael each selected something different to review in PowerUp’s Supporting Science Strategy Guide:

Let’s following their conversation over a three-week period.

Meeting Week 1

Caroline started off, “The Lesson in Action I read focused on a Grade 5 class engaged in a science unit. The learning objective was for students to graph data on the coordinate plane and use the graph to analyze the data. The teacher introduced different graphing tools to create a data visualization: Shodor Interactive Scatter Plots and Desmos Graphing Calculator”.

“I’d like to check out other graphing tools. The more tools I know about, the better I am able to match tools to the abilities and needs of my struggling students,” said Michael.

Arayle, quickly checking the PowerUp blogs, held up her tablet to show them a blog titled, “Graphing and Charting Tools to Meet Diverse Student Needs.” “I’ll email the link to you.”

Before the meeting ended, Michael made a request, “Next time, let’s explore ways to link math and science concepts using ‘real life’ examples.” Everyone agreed.

Meeting Week 2

Standing at the interactive whiteboard with his colleagues gathered around, Michael navigated to the Tech Matters blog, “Perspective from the Field: What is the value of virtual field trips?”

Arayle asked Michael to click on the link to “Ten of the best virtual field trips.”

Using their tablets, each teacher further explored the treasure trove of field trips that could easily link math and science.

Caroline gravitated to Polar Huskies. “Look, here are powerful sled dogs crossing the Artic. There’s also ways my students can learn about research projects that explore natural and social sciences. My kids will love this,” she told the others.

The website, “Take a Virtual Field Trip to the Moon,” caught Michael’s attention. “We are just about to start a unit on astrology. How cool is this? I can even use the moon tracking chart they provide.”

Arayle added, “That’s great for your 4th graders. Here’s something a bit more sophisticated for my 6th graders, “Solar System Math.”

It’s a series of lessons focusing on measurement, unit conversion, ratio and proportion, scale, data analysis, and data representation. It’s perfect.”

“Next time, let’s dig deeper into evidence-based math practices that are particularly relevant to using these online resources science with our struggling students,” suggested Caroline.

Meeting Week 3

Each of the members of our PLC team had reviewed the Teaching Strategy for a different math practice:

When Arayle convened the meeting, the three teachers had much to share about tech tools and practices. They hey began to laugh when all three wanted to talk about the short video, “Virtual Manipulatives” since they had all found that so helpful in thinking about inquiry-based, hands-on science and math.

“With the end of the school year quickly approaching, this is our last meeting until the fall,” Michael reminded the group. ‘Let’s continue exploring PowerUp over the summer and email each other with ideas for good teaching and tech tools.”

Judith Zorfass, Principle Investigator, PowerUp WHAT WORKS Tracy Gray, Project Director, PowerUp WHAT WORKS Contributor: Caroline Martin, Research Assistant, PowerUp WHAT WORKS