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Graspable Math requires a lot of teacher input to be truly useful; the platform itself doesn't provide any questions built into it outside of the From Here to There game, which is more of a tutorial of what the platform can do. Instead, it allows students to input their own equations and manipulate them to find solutions -- and to see how different combinations could potentially affect the outcome. There's a community of teacher-created worksheets available on the site, which are good but limited (many are also available in languages other than English).
However, teachers can create and share (with a Google account) worksheets for their students with text explanations and definitions, equations to be solved, and even embedded YouTube videos. This could be great for online courses or at-home instruction or practice. The GeoGebra integrations also expand the context of the lessons to include both 2D and 3D representations of the equations.Continue reading Show less
Graspable Math allows students to interact directly with algebra equations in an innovative way. By learning just a few easy gestures, students can drag elements of an equation from one place to another, combine, simplify, or expand variables, and create step-by-step solutions to various questions. It's fairly intuitive to operate, with a clean, simple interface. Students don't need an account to use the platform (which is free and browser-based), but they can use their Google login to save, load, and share workspaces with teachers or other classmates.
Graspable Math doesn't have many bells and whistles; it's very focused on solving and manipulating equations. But at the time of this review, there were a few glitches in the provided tutorial, which could be a bit confusing at first. And the included game, which seems to work only on a Chrome browser, is really more of a tutorial itself than an actual game. Its repetitive early levels may cause frustration (especially with older students). Also, the "shake a variable" option to open up the equation editor was temperamental at times (especially when using a trackpad).
Graspable Math is a good tool for allowing students to explore assigned questions as well as different methods of distribution, expansion, simplification, and other equation manipulations. It's integrated with GeoGebra, allowing students to manipulate both equations and their associated geometric representations, reinforcing the connection between these two fields of math. It also has a handy ability to allow students to track a specific variable from one step to the next, meaning students can see where various elements of the equation end up from start to finish and recognize (and catch) errors early on.
The best part is that Graspable Math doesn't actually solve the equation for the students (though there are some tools that simplify various steps or convert from one equation format to another -- e.g., the quadratic equation). This means that students can't simply plug an equation into it and get the answer out -- they still have to work for it.
Key Standards Supported
Arithmetic With Polynomials And Rational Expressions
Understand that polynomials form a system analogous to the integers, namely, they are closed under the operations of addition, subtraction, and multiplication; add, subtract, and multiply polynomials.
Know and apply the Remainder Theorem: For a polynomial p(x) and a number a, the remainder on division by x – a is p(a), so p(a) = 0 if and only if (x – a) is a factor of p(x).
Identify zeros of polynomials when suitable factorizations are available, and use the zeros to construct a rough graph of the function defined by the polynomial.
Prove polynomial identities and use them to describe numerical relationships. For example, the polynomial identity (x2 + y2)2 = (x2 – y2)2 + (2xy)2 can be used to generate Pythagorean triples.
(+) Know and apply the Binomial Theorem for the expansion of (x + y)n in powers of x and y for a positive integer n, where x and y are any numbers, with coefficients determined for example by Pascal’s Triangle.1
Rewrite simple rational expressions in different forms; write a(x)/b(x) in the form q(x) + r(x)/b(x), where a(x), b(x), q(x), and r(x) are polynomials with the degree of r(x) less than the degree of b(x), using inspection, long division, or, for the more complicated examples, a computer algebra system.
(+) Understand that rational expressions form a system analogous to the rational numbers, closed under addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division by a nonzero rational expression; add, subtract, multiply, and divide rational expressions.
Expressing Geometric Properties With Equations
Derive the equation of a circle of given center and radius using the Pythagorean Theorem; complete the square to find the center and radius of a circle given by an equation.
Derive the equation of a parabola given a focus and directrix.
(+) Derive the equations of ellipses and hyperbolas given the foci, using the fact that the sum or difference of distances from the foci is constant.
Use coordinates to prove simple geometric theorems algebraically. For example, prove or disprove that a figure defined by four given points in the coordinate plane is a rectangle; prove or disprove that the point (1, √3) lies on the circle centered at the origin and containing the point (0, 2).
Prove the slope criteria for parallel and perpendicular lines and use them to solve geometric problems (e.g., find the equation of a line parallel or perpendicular to a given line that passes through a given point).
Find the point on a directed line segment between two given points that partitions the segment in a given ratio.
Use coordinates to compute perimeters of polygons and areas of triangles and rectangles, e.g., using the distance formula.
Expressions And Equations
Write and evaluate numerical expressions involving whole-number exponents.
Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers.
Write expressions that record operations with numbers and with letters standing for numbers. For example, express the calculation “Subtract y from 5” as 5 – y.
Identify parts of an expression using mathematical terms (sum, term, product, factor, quotient, coefficient); view one or more parts of an expression as a single entity. For example, describe the expression 2 (8 + 7) as a product of two factors; view (8 + 7) as both a single entity and a sum of two terms.
Evaluate expressions at specific values of their variables. Include expressions that arise from formulas used in real-world problems. Perform arithmetic operations, including those involving whole- number exponents, in the conventional order when there are no parentheses to specify a particular order (Order of Operations). For example, use the formulas V = s3 and A = 6 s2 to find the volume and surface area of a cube with sides of length s = 1/2.
Apply the properties of operations to generate equivalent expressions.
Identify when two expressions are equivalent (i.e., when the two expressions name the same number regardless of which value is substituted into them). For example, the expressions y + y + y and 3y are equivalent because they name the same number regardless of which number y stands for.
Understand solving an equation or inequality as a process of answering a question: which values from a specified set, if any, make the equation or inequality true? Use substitution to determine whether a given number in a specified set makes an equation or inequality true.
Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an unknown number, or, depending on the purpose at hand, any number in a specified set.
Solve real-world and mathematical problems by writing and solving equations of the form x + p = q and px = q for cases in which p, q and x are all nonnegative rational numbers.
Write an inequality of the form x > c or x < c to represent a constraint or condition in a real-world or mathematical problem. Recognize that inequalities of the form x > c or x < c have infinitely many solutions; represent solutions of such inequalities on number line diagrams.
Use variables to represent two quantities in a real-world problem that change in relationship to one another; write an equation to express one quantity, thought of as the dependent variable, in terms of the other quantity, thought of as the independent variable. Analyze the relationship between the dependent and independent variables using graphs and tables, and relate these to the equation. For example, in a problem involving motion at constant speed, list and graph ordered pairs of distances and times, and write the equation d = 65t to represent the relationship between distance and time.
Apply properties of operations as strategies to add, subtract, factor, and expand linear expressions with rational coefficients.
Understand that rewriting an expression in different forms in a problem context can shed light on the problem and how the quantities in it are related. For example, a + 0.05a = 1.05a means that “increase by 5%” is the same as “multiply by 1.05.”
Solve multi-step real-life and mathematical problems posed with positive and negative rational numbers in any form (whole numbers, fractions, and decimals), using tools strategically. Apply properties of operations to calculate with numbers in any form; convert between forms as appropriate; and assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies. For example: If a woman making $25 an hour gets a 10% raise, she will make an additional 1/10 of her salary an hour, or $2.50, for a new salary of $27.50. If you want to place a towel bar 9 3/4 inches long in the center of a door that is 27 1/2 inches wide, you will need to place the bar about 9 inches from each edge; this estimate can be used as a check on the exact computation.
Use variables to represent quantities in a real-world or mathematical problem, and construct simple equations and inequalities to solve problems by reasoning about the quantities.
Solve word problems leading to equations of the form px + q = r and p(x + q) = r, where p, q, and r are specific rational numbers. Solve equations of these forms fluently. Compare an algebraic solution to an arithmetic solution, identifying the sequence of the operations used in each approach. For example, the perimeter of a rectangle is 54 cm. Its length is 6 cm. What is its width?
Solve word problems leading to inequalities of the form px + q > r or px + q < r, where p, q, and r are specific rational numbers. Graph the solution set of the inequality and interpret it in the context of the problem. For example: As a salesperson, you are paid $50 per week plus $3 per sale. This week you want your pay to be at least $100. Write an inequality for the number of sales you need to make, and describe the solutions.
Know and apply the properties of integer exponents to generate equivalent numerical expressions. For example, 32 × 3–5 = 3–3 = 1/33 = 1/27.
Use square root and cube root symbols to represent solutions to equations of the form x2 = p and x3 = p, where p is a positive rational number. Evaluate square roots of small perfect squares and cube roots of small perfect cubes. Know that √2 is irrational.
Use numbers expressed in the form of a single digit times an integer power of 10 to estimate very large or very small quantities, and to express how many times as much one is than the other. For example, estimate the population of the United States as 3 × 108 and the population of the world as 7 × 109, and determine that the world population is more than 20 times larger.
Perform operations with numbers expressed in scientific notation, including problems where both decimal and scientific notation are used. Use scientific notation and choose units of appropriate size for measurements of very large or very small quantities (e.g., use millimeters per year for seafloor spreading). Interpret scientific notation that has been generated by technology.
Graph proportional relationships, interpreting the unit rate as the slope of the graph. Compare two different proportional relationships represented in different ways. For example, compare a distance-time graph to a distance-time equation to determine which of two moving objects has greater speed.
Use similar triangles to explain why the slope m is the same between any two distinct points on a non-vertical line in the coordinate plane; derive the equation y = mx for a line through the origin and the equation y = mx + b for a line intercepting the vertical axis at b.
Solve linear equations in one variable.
Give examples of linear equations in one variable with one solution, infinitely many solutions, or no solutions. Show which of these possibilities is the case by successively transforming the given equation into simpler forms, until an equivalent equation of the form x = a, a = a, or a = b results (where a and b are different numbers).
Solve linear equations with rational number coefficients, including equations whose solutions require expanding expressions using the distributive property and collecting like terms.
Analyze and solve pairs of simultaneous linear equations.
Understand that solutions to a system of two linear equations in two variables correspond to points of intersection of their graphs, because points of intersection satisfy both equations simultaneously.
Solve systems of two linear equations in two variables algebraically, and estimate solutions by graphing the equations. Solve simple cases by inspection. For example, 3x + 2y = 5 and 3x + 2y = 6 have no solution because 3x + 2y cannot simultaneously be 5 and 6.
Solve real-world and mathematical problems leading to two linear equations in two variables. For example, given coordinates for two pairs of points, determine whether the line through the first pair of points intersects the line through the second pair.
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