You'll probably want to assign Brilliant's problems primarily for at-home practice, or challenge high-achieving kids to complete problems for extra credit. When you create your own account, you'll be able to post specific problems for your students; you can use hashtags to mark which ones you'd like them to complete. Encourage kids to post their own questions or share interesting problems they find on Brilliant with the class. Math teachers can encourage their students to check out the helpful Techniques section, which offers a succinct description of an idea like parallel lines accompanied by a few examples at the bottom.
Watch this video to see more ways you can use Brilliant:Continue reading Show less
Brilliant is an online community (web and Chrome app) of learners who share and solve physics and math problems. Aimed toward high aptitude students, it's particularly useful to kids competing in Math or Science Olympiad contests. First, students choose a topic: Algebra, Number Theory, Combinatorics, Electricity & Magnetism, Computer Science, Mechanics, Geometry, or Calculus. They're they're given a choice of 5 problems, one at each of five levels. They'll solve the hardest one they can; this determines placement and the level of challenge from that point forward.
Each level is divided into ratings; kids who boost their rating by correctly solving problems will get “leveled up.” They'll get three tries to solve a problem, but if they still can’t figure it out, sample solutions are provided. And if they don't like the sample solution? Kids can request a clarification or dispute the answer.
Brilliant is elegantly laid out and easy to navigate. It lets kids solve problems at their level while getting immediate feedback. Students will appreciate the choices they get to make -- they can pick the problems they find interesting. Even better, they can create their own problems to try to stump their friends. The site's existing problems are moderately intriguing; They're pretty similar to the types of story problems you find in traditional math and physics textbooks.
Like any online forum there are some safety concerns; make sure to talk to your students about digital citizenship. All users are asked to upload a profile picture, but kids can skip this step, using an avatar or a picture of a favorite animal. Brilliant also could be improved by adding a teacher dashboard to easily track student progress. Also, answers submitted don't require the use of units, which could be particularly problematic in physics. Note that this site is aimed toward "exceptional students," so it may not be appropriate for kids who are having difficulty with math or physics.
Key Standards Supported
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Use mathematical representations to support the claim that the total momentum of a system of objects is conserved when there is no net force on the system.
Use mathematical representations of Newton’s Law of Gravitation and Coulomb’s Law to describe and predict the gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects.
Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding relationships among the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling in various media.