Common Sense Review
Updated July 2012

Figure This!

Real-world examples illustrate complex math concepts
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • Figure This! provides math challenges for families and classrooms.
  • Learning Challenges can be viewed online or printed out in color or black and white.
  • Learning Challenge 3 – “Popcorn” asks kids to decide which container will hold more popcorn.
  • Each learning challenge provides ways to get started, a complete solution, and opportunities to extend the activity.
  • When learning challenges are viewed directly from the website, families can access ways to get started and hints through the menu on the bottom.
Pros
Storytelling helps kids relate math to their lives.
Cons
It takes time find the right task, since challenges are not organized by level or Common Core Math Standards.
Bottom Line
Figure This! provides 76 math challenges to get kids using math in everyday situations.
Emily Pohlonski
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4
Math story problems engage kids in problem-solving as well as rich discussions.
Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4
Figure This! offers fun math-inquiry activities, but responsiveness is limited to a single hint for all problems.
Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4
Each activity offers solutions and opportunities to extend learning. Resources are also available in Spanish.
About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

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.

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What's It Like?

Engaging 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

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Is It Good For 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.

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See how teachers are using Figure This!