Common Sense Review
Updated March 2013


Untangle robust math problems for all ages; plenty of teaching support
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • Student homepages include links to live and solved problems, trending topics, and games and interactives.
  • Problems are presented with text, images, videos, or interactive tools.
  • Kids can use interactives like these spinners to make predictions and test hypotheses.
  • For this problem, making a table and finding a pattern are both acceptable solutions.
  • Teacher pages for each problem give tips and advice.
The site's approach to problem-solving challenges kids to think mathematically, giving them the tools to do so.
Visual presentation needs to better adapt to its audience, with less text and easier "click" targets for younger kids in particular.
Bottom Line
It's an excellent classroom companion that can be implemented quickly with little adjustment and a high probability of success.
Michelle Kitt
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

As they generate solutions to problems with real-world relevance, kids should engage with these sharp student pages. Site navigation is a bit tricky, so kids may need adult guidance to find relevant activities.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 5

Kids are encouraged to "explore, question, notice, and discuss," and submit solutions -- as a group or solo. Every problem has links to help kids get started, and a fully explained solution adds depth.

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

Online interactives and single-player and multiplayer offline games reinforce skills. In a community section, kids can discuss math with other kids or get homework help; experts give support but not answers. Spanish translation is available.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

From their own student homepage, kids can choose to solve problems, check out trending math topics, or search for problems by collection or keyword, or from a list. Problems use text, video, and graphics, but kids will most often work offline with pencil and paper (problems can be printed). There are offline games for young kids to play, often with a partner. Kids at all grade levels can explore concepts via interactive online activities such as a peg board, Cuisenaire rods, modeling activities, or games.

Teacher homepages are also grouped by grade bands; you can visit them directly or through the Teacher Resources link that accompanies every problem.

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What's It Like?

NRICH is a website featuring activities to challenge and engage kids with math problems, games, and projects set in relevant contexts. The site is divided into four student homepages representing the "5 Key Stages," or grade bands within the British education system, and corresponding U.S. K-12 grade level info is available. Problems for younger kids involve numbers and operations, shape, position, data and measurement with algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics (added as they get older). Problems are presented with text and some video, so there’s quite a bit of reading. They’re printable and can always be read aloud.

To access age-appropriate problems by topic, use the Other Resources link in the Collections box on any student or teacher homepage. Click Topics at the top of the page to access all of NRICH’s problems.

Other extras NRICH offers include:

• Online interactives that work on a whiteboard

• Offline games

• Projects that promote STEM education

• Articles about math for all grades

• Tips for preparing for college math

• Professional development for teachers

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Is It Good For Learning?

The "explore, question, notice, and discuss" approach is evident in the Getting Started suggestions link or in the problems themselves. The several solutions offered per problem highlight the relationship between creativity and math; it’s not just about the answer. Thorough corresponding teacher pages for each problem share possible approaches, questions to ask, and possible extensions to other support ideas. NRICH makes math a social activity, which is rare and fantastic. Kids will need to work away from the computer with pencil, paper, and other materials to sketch and model problems, but they don’t have to work alone. Have kids work in groups to submit a solution; NRICH always names the solver(s) of the solutions they accept. If small groups are not possible, kids can work alone or use the online community to find a partner.

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