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Teachers can use Math Apprentice in several ways. Students can use it as an open-ended exploration of different math-related careers. They'll be exposed to new math concepts and have fun visiting the virtual businesses. Teachers might also use this approach to preview concepts in upcoming units, to help students visualize real-world applications for what they're learning.
A more strategic approach might involve matching students' current math skills with specific businesses on the site. For example, once students have a strong understanding of the Pythagorean Theorem, have them visit the video game studio to help cement their understanding in an engaging way. It's important to have students reflect on their experiences after visiting Math Apprentice, as the site doesn't give teachers feedback on what their students are learning.Continue reading Show less
Math Apprentice introduces students to real-world math concepts used by people working in a variety of careers. Students pick one of three avatars and travel through a virtual town with eight businesses. As they visit each business, students learn about the math involved there. The businesses include a bakery, bike shop, animation studio, video game studio, and a space rover design center, among others. Each business has kids solve unique problems using built-in math tools.
A wide range of math concepts are covered, including the Pythagorean Theorem, ratios and proportions, and graphing the sine and cosine functions. Additionally, students can explore a different part of the site to learn about various math-intensive careers, from artist to amusement park designer.
- The Sweet Treat Cafe provides interactive multi-step word problems using graphing, fractions, and decimal operations to maximize the profit in the Cafe.
- Trigon Studios is a movie studio where students move animated characters using the sine and cosine functions, similar to the way video games are created.
As an inquiry-based approach to teaching mathematics, Math Apprentice is great for helping students connect what they're learning in school with the math done by professionals. The simulations are high-quality and engaging, and provide students with excellent opportunities for open-ended learning.
There are a few things that could make this site even better for both teachers and students. A learning dashboard would be helpful -- a place where teachers and students could view progress, assign tasks, and give/get feedback. Better Common Core standards alignment, with listings, would also be a big plus for teachers looking to connect the site to specific learning goals. Last, while the exploratory nature of the site is key, a user guide outlining site navigation would save time and help students develop more understanding from their experiences.
Key Standards Supported
Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, volume and surface area of two- and three-dimensional objects composed of triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, cubes, and right prisms.
Apply the Pythagorean Theorem to find the distance between two points in a coordinate system.
Measurement And Data
Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Solve problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions by using information presented in line plots. For example, from a line plot find and interpret the difference in length between the longest and shortest specimens in an insect collection.
Ratios And Proportional Relationships
Make tables of equivalent ratios relating quantities with whole- number measurements, find missing values in the tables, and plot the pairs of values on the coordinate plane. Use tables to compare ratios.