Real-world math application that promotes problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration amongst students
I like the fact that Sector 33 is high on the scale of critical thinking and problem-solving, and would force students into Bloom's higher levels of thinking. Additionally, several multiple intelligences (interpersonal, intrapersonal, visual-spatial, mathematical logical, verbal-linguistic, and bodily-kinesthetic) tap the interest levels of students. Real-world application of math is dynamic within the classroom. Because this application would be used primarily with middle school students and probably 5th grade gifted and talented students, I would want to model the integration of this App with my pre-service teachers so that they could appropriately introduce it following math instruction. I did a little research and located the NASA Smart Skies: Line Up With Math activity that provides a classroom lesson using Sector 33. It provides a solid idea of how this App could be used and gave me several ideas as to how I might modify the lesson. I believe the middle school students would consider the App to be a game whereas as the teacher, I would consider it an engaging activity that would allow me to gauge the degree to which learning had occurred. The App provides options for following up in-class instruction with a computer-based activity which is a plus as students, in general, like technology. Would be interested in seeing how NASA might improve this App to give a 3-D visual of the simulation.
How I Use It
Unfortunately, I did not have access to a group of students with which to pilot the use of this App. Normally, I would have my pre-service teachers to evaluate iPad Apps and obtain feedback from them. As such, I personally spent slightly under 1 hour using the Sector 33 App. I would use this App with pre-service teachers within my methods classes, especially since it deals with real world application of math. I enjoyed the overall concept, but thought the HELP feature was quite limited. Even with my pre-service teacher, I would do a full class demonstration to minimize questions and trial-and-error efforts. I would also want to work with the entire class doing the mathematical application in line with distance, rate, and time. The only problem I had with the program was that the "tap and drag" feature did not work.