The post Playful Learning: Fluency Games and BrainPOP appeared first on BrainPOP Educators.

]]>At BrainPOP, we understand that computational fluency–the ability to re-create pathways in the brain, and then strengthen these connections through repetition and feedback–is essential to attaining higher-order math skills.

Recognizing the critical role fluency plays in math, we dug into our data and conducted research on the impact some of our math games have on users’ computational fluency. Two of our games in particular–Addition Blocks and Multiplication Blocks–were developed by teacher Marty Esterman, founder of Fluency Games and expert in pedagogy of math fluency.

In partnership with Fluency Games, we gathered and analyzed data (in a privacy compliant manner, of course!) and discovered that success playing Addition Blocks and Multiplication Blocks was a good indicator of success with traditional, non-game measures of assessment, such as BrainPOP’s multiple choice quizzes. Click to read the full report, **Playful Learning: Fluency Games and BrainPOP**.

Our research also revealed, not surprisingly, that BrainPOP’s GameUp is a popular destination for students. While we encourage students (and teachers) to begin exploring a subject from its topic page,another strategy is to start with a game to pique student interest before diving deeply into the content. For game play to be effective though, fluency is essential.

In our ongoing effort to motivate and engage your students, we are committed to conducting research on relevant and timely topics, such as computational fluency. Using research results, our goal is to continuously improve and develop our content and tools so that they are most effective for learning and complement each other. We’ll continue to share our research findings with you and we are always eager for your feedback, including what you’d like to know more about.

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]]>The post Riddle Books Game Step Guide appeared first on BrainPOP Educators.

]]>This printable provides a step-by-step guide for playing Riddle Books, a math game that challenges players to solve algebra word problems by constructing visual models, and deriving equations from those models.

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]]>The post Wuzzit Trouble Game: Additional Features for My BrainPOP appeared first on BrainPOP Educators.

]]>The SnapThought® tool allows students to capture meaningful moments in their game play with opportunities for brief written reflection. To use the tool, start by making sure students are logged into My BrainPOP with their own individual accounts. Once students are logged in, the SnapThought® tool will appear below any games that offer this capability.

During game play, students can click the SnapThought® tool up to five times per game. A thumbnail, or “snapshot” is generated and stored on the bottom left of the screen. At any point in the game, students can click their snapshot(s), type a brief reflection–which may be a response to an open-ended prompt–and save or submit to the teacher’s account for you to review and respond to.

To avoid interrupting the flow of game, students can take snapshots during the game and add their written reflections later. You can use the SnapThought® tool to facilitate discussion around game play and strategies, or have students submit their snapshots to you for assessment or accountability. Here are a few ideas and prompts for using the SnapThought® tool in Wuzzit Trouble:

- Take a snapshot before deciding how many times to turn the gear. Predict how many times you will need to turn it to collect the key or keys in one move. Explain WHY it will take this many turns.
- Take a snapshot after you turn the gear. Confirm your prediction. If you were not able to collect all the keys in one move, explain how you will do it differently on your next attempt.
- [For levels 1-4 and higher] Take a snapshot before turning the gear. Which direction (clockwise or counterclockwise) do you predict will allow you to collect the most keys or trophies in the fewest moves?
- [For levels 1-4 and higher] Confirm your prediction. If you were not able to collect all the keys and trophies in the fewest moves, explain how you will do it differently on your next attempt.
- What strategy (e.g., skip count, multiply, divide) did you use to collect keys and trophies? When it didn’t work, what did you try next?

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]]>The post New on BrainPOP Jr: Solving Word Problems Math Movie appeared first on BrainPOP Educators.

]]>Solving math word problems can be tricky for kids, but Annie and Moby are here to help!

In our new Solving Word Problems movie for grades 1-3, students will learn four steps for solving a word problem. Annie and Moby will teach them that first, they must understand the problem. Then, they should plan their strategy. Next, they’ll follow the plan to solve, and finally, check their work.

This movie will also help students discover different math strategies they can use to solve word problems, such as using counters, drawing a picture, creating a chart, or writing a number sentence.

Check out our Word Problems Activities for Kids and other related resources on BrainPOP Educators to help you get started!

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]]>The post Building Fluency with Math Games on GameUp! appeared first on BrainPOP Educators.

]]>The first few weeks of school are spent reviewing those skills and concepts students learned the previous year, but may not have practiced over the summer. Math skills are often among those “forgotten concepts,” and it’s not always easy to spark kids’ memory. But GameUp titles like Addition Blocks and Multiplication Blocks are a creative way to revisit and enhance fluency, further preparing students to begin developing higher-order math skills. The games feature 3 levels of difficulty and 4 different modes of play, including a new “timed” mode that gives teachers the ability to set a time limit for gameplay – making the game more lesson plan-friendly and ideal for whole-class practice. Both titles are also SnapThought™ enabled giving teachers the ability to prompt students to take snapshots of their gameplay and comment on their strategies. Not sure how to work these games into your curriculum? Visit the Lesson Ideas pages for Addition Blocks or Multiplication Blocks where you can find lesson plans, discussion prompts, and assessment ideas for using these games with students.

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]]>The post New on BrainPOP: Multiplying Decimals Movie appeared first on BrainPOP Educators.

]]>Is multiplying decimals a real life skill?

Find out in BrainPOP’s latest movie as Tim and Moby explore how to multiply decimals in the tenths, hundredths, and thousandths places. They’ll demonstrate how multiplying decimals is as easy as sliding the decimal point out of the way so that both factors are whole numbers, then sliding the decimal point back the same number of places in the product.

Tim and Moby will also share examples of how knowledge of multiplying decimals can pay off big time when it comes to managing your money.

Watch the movie here, or visit our Lesson Ideas page to find resources for teaching with the movie.

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]]>The post Multiplying Decimals Lesson Plan appeared first on BrainPOP Educators.

]]>The post The Next Math Topic Slated for BrainPOP Production is. . . appeared first on BrainPOP Educators.

]]>Back in February, we asked YOU to vote in a poll to determine which math topic BrainPOP should produce next. We received 235 individual votes and the winner, with 28%, is **multiplying and dividing decimals! W**hen the topic has been produced and is live on BrainPOP, we will share the news here on the BrainPOP Educators blog. In the meantime you can check related topic movies as part of the Numbers and Operations math unit on BrainPOP.com.

Here are the complete results. As you can see, Quadratic Equation was a close second place with 26% – so we’ll keep that in mind as we progress through our production queue!

Topic | Votes | Percentage |

Multiplying & Dividing Decimals | 66 | 0.28% |

Displaying Data | 24 | 0.10% |

Surface Area | 40 | 0.17% |

Quadratic Equation | 60 | 0.26% |

Ordering Fractions | 45 | 0.19% |

Thanks for participating in our poll, and check back soon for our next one!

The post The Next Math Topic Slated for BrainPOP Production is. . . appeared first on BrainPOP Educators.

]]>The post Bloom’s Taxonomy in the Common Core Math Standards appeared first on BrainPOP Educators.

]]>*In this 3-part series, BrainPOP’s Assessment Specialist, Kevin Miklasz, shares his analysis of the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards in relation to the levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.*

Recently, Dan Meyer posted an analysis of what kinds of tasks are expected of students on Khan Academy and how it compared to the demands of the Common Core State Standards. Dan used a recently released sample test from the SBAC to describe what the Common Core required, but we were inspired to take Dan’s analysis one step further. Instead of interpreting SBAC’s interpretation of the Common Core’s interpretation of what students should do, we decided to go right to the core, the Common Core. What exact kind of tasks is the Common Core requiring of students? And how do those requirements change across grades?

But, we needed a categorization system to group different kinds of student tasks. Dan used verbs to categorize tasks, but some verbs actually call for similar mental processes, and so probably should be grouped together rather than separated. Additionally some verbs in the standards, like “understand” can have loaded meanings and depending on their context refer to higher or lower order cognitive tasks. To accommodate both of these issues, we grouped tasks using everyone’s favorite categorization system, Bloom’s taxonomy.

So, this lead to a relatively large task, of going through every standard in every grade and tagging it with one or more levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. Our hope is that by doing this kind of work, we can better understand what kind of tasks the Common Core is emphasizing. In this blog post, I’ll look at the Common Core Math standards, look for the CCELA and NGSS in followup posts!

First up, Common Core Math! The results are shown in the two figures below. The top figure shows the percentage of tasks in each level of Bloom’s taxonomy, where the lower graph shows pure numbers. The first column in the top graph codes the “Mathematical Practices,” which are intended to span across all standards, across all grades.

The first two things to notice are that the **number of tasks required of students increases with each grade level**, and that **the distribution of tasks does not change much across grade levels**. There is a transition between grades 3-4, in which there are less Understand and more Apply tasks. But in general, there is very little trend across grades. Additionally, for most grades the highest three levels of the taxonomy comprise only 10-35% of the total tasks. **For the majority of mathematics tasks students are being asked to do, those tasks are at a relatively low level on Blooms.** To be fair, the higher level tasks do take more time than low level tasks, so the allotment of classroom time will be more weighted towards higher level tasks than these standards indicate. But the majority of the standards text actually describe relatively low level tasks.

Another qualification- the Mathematical Practices are much more weighted towards high level tasks than the standards themselves as can be seen in the top figure, and these practices are meant to be infused across the grade level standards. Exactly how this infusing should occur is not clear, but that certainly would weight the scale towards higher level tasks.

*In case you are curious how I did this analysis, here some details.*** **

*Some grade-specific standards contained multiple parts, or multiple tasks that they required from students. I coded each “task” required from students, which usually was one per standard, but sometimes was multiple tasks per standard.*

*The standards themselves note that they are overlapping, in that the same content is emphasized and described in different ways in multiple standards. By my analysis, this would give those kinds of semi-repeated tasks more weight, as they would be counted multiple times for each of the various places they appeared. I decided this was ok- things that were more crucial tended to be more often repeated, and therefore should get more weight.*

*The high school Math standards were not broken up by grade, they were broken up by subject. I felt they confused the graph more than added useful info, so I did not show them here. But I can say that the high school standards were similar to the middle school standards in mostly emphasizing lower order skills in similar percentages.*

** To refer back to the original point of Dan’s article- the sample test released by the SBAC seems to be testing at a much, much higher level than the 8th grade Common Core standards seem to be calling for, potentially indicating that they had selectively released their best test items, and that the sample test is not a representative example of the test as a whole. Also, the Khan Academy is actually doing quite well compared to the standards themselves! If anything, the Khan Academy tasks were at a higher average level of Bloom’s taxonomy than the tasks described in 8th grade Common Core Math standards.**

**About Kevin:** Kevin entered education as a trained scientist- he has a PhD in Biology from Stanford University. Both during and after his graduate studies, he has spent his time gaining a smattering of diverse experiences in education: designing science curriculum, teaching after-school science programs, designing science games, running a “cooking as science” blog, designing online learning platforms, running professional development for teachers and professional engineers, and analyzing educational assessment data. Kevin is currently the Assessment Specialist at BrainPOP where he is designing new, playful and meaningful assessments on BrainPOP’s website.

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]]>The post Which Math Topic Should BrainPOP Produce Next? You Decide! appeared first on BrainPOP Educators.

]]>Now is your chance to choose the next BrainPOP math topic! We plan to create **one** of the following math topics:

- Multiplying and Dividing Fractions,
- Displaying Data,
- Surface Area,
- Quadratic Equation
- Ordering Fractions

But we don’t know which topic to start with! Participate in our poll below and vote for the math topic that we you would like us to produce first! After selecting the topic of choice, spread the word and get your educator peers to vote too! After closing the poll on March 21st, the most popular topic will go to the top of our math production queue! So what are you waiting for? Vote!

The post Which Math Topic Should BrainPOP Produce Next? You Decide! appeared first on BrainPOP Educators.

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