Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.

Teachers can send the math challenges home throughout the school year, pass them out at parent night, or give presentations encouraging parents to use the website at home. The math challenges can be done in class, or the extensions can be used as class projects. Overall, it's an engaging way to teach math concepts, as Figure This! helps kids see that math is part of their everyday lives.

Additional materials are available to help you with instruction.

Continue readingEngaging math problems in Figure This!, a website sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, teach kids how to project salary growth, estimate percentages, and graph information to analyze trends. It's not all grown-up concepts, though: They also can determine which baseball player has the higher batting average, how far a paper airplane can fly or how far you can drive on a tank of gas, and how distance and angles affect mirror reflections. They also learn how to estimate surface area and compare fractions. From algebra and geometry to statistics and probability, the site features more than 76 challenges.

Challenges are listed by topic and title, and kids can access them on the site or print them out as PDFs. Each challenge shows ways to get started and comes with a hint, the correct answer with an explanation, and extra questions and reading suggestions to extend learning.

Kids who aren't crazy about math may be inspired to learn about, for example, integers, probability, and algebra. The challenges are much more interesting than cut-and-dried number problems. Each helps kids visualize how math works in the real world and involves a detailed example that kids can relate to, such as the probability of two people at the same school having the same initials.

Adding age suggestions and aligning activities to the Common Core Math Standards would make the site even stronger.