One of the most common questions we are asked is how our library of digital content supports the Common Core.  The easy answer is that our entire library has been aligned to the Common Core standards, so teachers can find resources related to each standard.  The more complex answer is that there are many pieces of content that can be used in flexible ways to support each individual standard, and it is up to teachers to choose the content that best supports their lesson and their students.

Here are five pieces of digital content a teacher might choose from our library to support and enhance the teaching of: CCSS.Math.Content.4.MD.C.6

Measure angles in whole-number degrees using a protractor. Sketch angles of specified measure.

Measuring Angles Animation

A teacher could use this animation with students on laptops/tablets/Chromebooks or an interactive whiteboard to review how to use a protractor to measure an angle.

Random Angle Explorer

A teacher could use this activity to challenge students to estimate the measurement of a random angle and then to measure the angle to check their estimate.

A teacher could use this animation with students on laptops/tablets/Chromebooks or an interactive whiteboard to review how to draw an angle.

What’s My Angle?

A teacher could use this virtual manipulative with students on laptops/tablets/Chromebooks or an interactive whiteboard in many different ways.  Students can create angles, estimate the measurement of angles, and measure angles.

Super Math Golf

A teacher could use this game to challenge students to use angle and distance estimations to score a hole in one!

This is the fifth in a series of posts dedicated to helping teachers understand specific changes the Common Core requires them to make in their instruction and sharing how StarrMatica’s content can help facilitate that transition.  The first four posts can be viewed here, here, here, and here.

One of the major Common Core Math shifts is that students will be required to use manipulatives and other technology enhanced items to demonstrate mathematical concepts.  One way to assist students with concept development is to help them visualize abstract concepts with manipulatives.  Manipulatives can be anything from hundreds charts to number lines to decimal squares—anything that helps students to visualize mathematical concepts.  An obvious example is base-ten blocks. These virtual manipulatives allow students to visualize the “sizes” of numbers indicated by their places in our number system.

Manipulatives also help students to understand the concepts behind mathematical procedures such as using base ten blocks to illustrate “regrouping” in a multi-digit addition or subtraction algorithm.  Manipulatives give students a concrete visualization to hold in their minds when they are computing to understand what is really happening mathematically.  Using a variety of manipulatives in your classroom allows students to choose a tool that works best for them.

In addition to traditional manipulatives, you should also expose your students to virtual manipulatives.  There are hundreds of online manipulatives available which provide you with a variety of instructional options that would be cost prohibitive with traditional manipulatives.  Virtual manipulatives may have added features that bring value to your demonstration, and they may be used to help students learn through inquiry by providing teachers with easily adjustable visual tools.  Students can test their ideas, explore the effects of changing variables, and formulate theories based on results.

Virtual manipulatives provide value in their accessiblity on interactive whiteboards, tablets, laptops, or Chromebooks at school and at home.  Virtual manipulatives are used on both the PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessments.  Students are asked to drag fractions to the correct locations on a number line or to draw a rectangle with a specific area.

It is important that your students have experience demonstrating their understanding with these types of online tools so that during the assessment, lack of understanding about how to use the tool doesn’t get in the way of them successfully showing their mathematical knowledge.

In StarrMatica’s library, teachers have access to hundreds of virtual manipulatives for ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, and Music.  Many Math manpulatives also include content guides–lesson plans for using that manipulative to meet specific Common Core Standards.