How I Use It
Matific has a variety of short, interactive "episodes" for grades k-6, each of which engage students in exploring a specific math concept. These 5-15 minute sessions feel like games to students as a flurry of stars accompany a reasonable answer. Wrong answers are corrected after two errors and the games adapt to the ability of the student. As a technology support teacher for grades K-5 the past nine months, I have used the Common Core Navigator to select an activity relevant to what a class is studying. Next year I will be able to select activities that correlate with my recently adopted math text. Matific has a way to unlock and assign only the activities you want students to use. My lessons with Matific usually involve guiding students through the mechanics of an episode, asking students what they are noticing and wondering about the math involved. Next, I often have students work together in pairs to complete an episode, usually recording their results symbolically. We follow up the activity with a class discussion during which I record a variety of solutions, connecting the experience to the equations or math terms. After the lesson I can check the student reports to help plan future lessons.
I was thrilled to discover Matific while exploring Graphite Learning website. This kind of program, which gives students opportunities to explore and experiment with specific math ideas, is rare and much more valuable to my students than a tutorial or skills practice website. As each activity loads, the screen proclaims: Bringing back the Aha! moment. That it does. Accompanied by strategic class discussion with the recommended symbolic representations, lessons with Matific build number sense and mathematical reasoning far better than standard textbook lessons. I also admire the founders for making a free site for teachers and students--while they are at school. Students who wish to use the program at home may sign up for a home membership at the cost of $10 per year. (A home membership for students not associated with a class costs $36 per year.) As for teacher support, the company immediately responded to an email I wrote describing the time-consuming sign-up system; then they worked hard to streamline the process. This app is available on both a website and now, an Ipad app called Matific for Schools. I appreciate the thoughtful teachers' guides that accompany about one-eighth of the episodes; hopefully, more are on the way.