You may want to assign Brilliant's problems primarily for at-home practice, or challenge high-achieving kids to complete problems for extra credit. You can also encourage students to explore topics that you don't have time to cover in class. 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 to the community or share interesting problems they find on Brilliant with the class. Encourage your students also to check out the helpful built-in wiki section, which offers succinct descriptions of ideas like Parallel Lines, the Law of Cosines, and Uniform Circular Motion accompanied by a few examples. Brilliant could be improved by adding a teacher dashboard to easily track student progress, however.
Like any online forum, there are some safety concerns; make sure to talk with your students about digital citizenship. Note that Brilliant is aimed toward "exceptional students," so it may not be appropriate for kids who are having difficulty with the subjects it covers.Continue reading Show less
Brilliant is an online (web and mobile) community of learners who share and solve science, math, and computer science (CS) problems. Aimed toward high-aptitude students, it's particularly useful for kids competing in Math or Science Olympiad contests, or for those who want to get started in coding. The site's main interface is divided into the Today panel, Courses panel, and Practice panel (the community portions are, unfortunately, fairly hidden in one of the drop-down menus). The Today panel has a set of daily problems covering Math & Logic and Science & Engineering. Students can also access the Daily Problem archives. When students solve these problems, they can contribute an explanation to their solution if desired, with formatting including LaTeX.
Under Courses, students choose from among foundational and advanced courses like Algebra, Number Theory, Group Theory, Electricity & Magnetism, Programming with Python, Machine Learning, Astronomy, Geometry, and Calculus. A brief introduction gets students going, and then they're presented with material and questions to test their comprehension. Whether or not they answer the problems correctly, they can display the explanation to learn how the problem was solved by the author. Students can optionally give these explanations a thumbs up or thumbs down. The Practice section focuses on fewer topics but is well organized, pointing to related courses, additional practice problems, and the many relevant pages in the community wiki.
Students can participate in the active community of other Brilliant users who post and solve their own problems, add to and edit the built-in wiki, and generally help each other. Additionally, there's a coding environment where users can type in and run code for Python 3, Bash, C, Rust, and Q#.
Students can take Brilliant courses to learn new skills, to practice what they already know, as supplemental learning for school, or just for fun. The site is elegantly laid out and easy to navigate. It lets students solve problems in their areas of study while getting immediate feedback. Students will appreciate the self-directed nature of the site, allowing them to work in areas they find interesting, and they can set goals for when they want to finish courses. Even better, they can create their own problems to try to stump their friends.
Brilliant's existing problems are moderately intriguing; they're pretty similar to the types of story problems you find in traditional textbooks. But the community members present new challenging problems as well, and that area of the site is a great place for students to get additional help and bond over similar educational interests. There's room for different levels of knowledge, to some extent, as students can search for problems that are ranked easy, medium, or hard. The site could be improved by including the community and wiki resources in a top-level panel to make them easier to find.
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.