Posts Tagged ‘problem solving’

Kids-Mezzannine-16x9_493Cyberchase is the Emmy award-winning animated math mystery show that features a team of curious kids who use their math and problem solving skills to outwit and outsmart the villain Hacker in their quest to save Cyberspace.  Adventure, environmental science, and math join forces on Monday, November 4, when all-new episodes of Cyberchase build on the epic struggle of good vs. evil with environmental themes relevant to today’s kids and lets kids be the heroes as they master math concepts to solve life’s wacky problems.

For teachers of grades 3-8, Cyberchase will make lesson plans and video clips available for free download through PBS LearningMedia. Right now, you’ll find live-actionFor Real segments exploring the show’s math topics in everyday life.  Here are sample Cyberchase resources with support materials:

Hugs and Witches (Grades 3-5):  A full episode in which Hacker captures Dr. Marbles and Lady Ada Lovelace, and the kids and Digit must decipher a series of poems to save them.

Balancing Equations with Multiple Terms (Grades 3-6):   In this video segment, Digit and Inez must balance two number sentences to save the bunnies of Cyberspace.

Railroad Repair Using Decimal Addition (Grades 3-6):   In this interactive game, students are challenged to use decimal addition to repair a series of train tracks with spare tracks that range in length from 0.1 to 1.0.


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The Christopher Columbus Awards is a national, community-based STEM competition for middle school students and teachers looking to make a difference in their community. Working in teams, students identify a problem in the community and apply the scientific method to create an innovative solution.

Maximum award: $25,000 grant

Eligibility: schools (grades 6-8) and community groups

Deadline: February 4, 2013

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The NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grants provide funds to improve the academic achievement of students by engaging in critical thinking and problem-solving that deepen knowledge of standards-based subject matter. The work should also improve students’ habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection.

Maximum award: $5,000.

Eligibility: practicing U.S. public school teachers, public school education support professionals, or faculty or staff at public higher education institutions.

Deadline: October 15, 2012

Note: Please address all questions to the funding organization directly.

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We love lesson plans that take an interdisciplinary approach to learning.  We found this one combining a look at the United States prison and correctional system with how statistics are calculated.

“The number of people in prison in America has been rising steadily, resulting in overcrowded prisons and a budget crisis. Contrary to popular belief, a rise in crime isn’t the primary reason for the increase in prison populations. Studies have shown that changes in laws and policies regarding imprisonment seem to be the major cause.”

In the four linked activities in this lesson plan, your high school students will apply their knowledge of ratios, proportions, fractions, decimals, percents, scientific notation, mean, median, mode, range, and pie graphs to interpret data and statistics regarding the U.S. government’s budget for prisons and correctional services. Then, students will synthesize what they have learned and communicate it using diagrams and mathematical evidence.  This lesson plan is perfect for high school math instruction.  Each activity is accompanied with student worksheets, instructor guides, and extension activities.

This lesson was featured by PBS’ Newshour and was developed by Amy Lein, a teacher at Newton High School here in Massachusetts.  To watch the clip that inspired this lesson, click here.

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