Children are becoming technological whizzes at a relatively young age. Go into any elementary school in America and you will probably find a seven-year-old who can work your iPhone, tablet, or laptop better than you can. So it should come as no surprise that the way these students learn is also moving to a new, technological realm. And many educators are not fighting this trend, but embracing it because they realize that the technology has the potential to actively engage the students while reinforcing skills that they learn in the classroom. Here are five of the best sites that I have found on the web to help students with their mathematics.
1. Cut-the-Knot—I had to rank this website (www.cut-the-knot.com) number one for one huge reason: the fact that the material covered is so advanced. You will be hard pressed to find another website out there that touches on such topics as calculus, trigonometry, and probability and statistics. There is even a section on fractals, which can be some of the coolest of advanced math concepts.
2. NASA Quest—I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for NASA ever since I toured the Space Center in Alabama when I was ten and Cape Canaveral a few years later. The NASA Quest website (www.quest.arc.nasa.gov) is wonderful, not just because it reinforces math skills, but also because it does so by showing students the practical applications of mathematics in the fields of science and technology.
3. Mathnook—One of the things I like about Mathnook (www.mathnook.com) is the layout of the website which centers on skills. You can choose a variety of games that range from basic number skills and computations up to more advanced work centered around algebra and geometry. This really covers the gamut of mathematical skills and is a great site to check out for arcade style fun math games.
4. Funbrain—This website (www.funbrain.com) is really cool because it offers not only mathematics arcade-style games but also reading activities as well including the widely popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
5. PBS Kids—Parents have known for years that you can’t go wrong with PBS and this site (www.pbskids.org/games/math.html) is no exception. This is a great site for learning basic concepts such as measurement and counting skills as well as simple computations.
We are a long way away from students learning everything they need to know from computers. Cold, impersonal machines can never replace caring, motivated teachers and no one should even attempt such a feat. But these computers, like the abacus and the slide rule and the calculator that came before, do have a place as tools in the classroom to help your child with their education. That is why it is important to embrace these developments as a means of working with your child.