With all the talk of learning math in context and making mathematics “real-world” and relevant to students lives so that they see and connect what they are learning to a purpose, it is often amazing to me how often there is no attempt to help make those connections. Especially as students move into more abstract concepts. From personal teaching experience, whenever I could bring in something – a physical object, a picture, a story, a technology simulation (loved Sketchpad!) that helped provide my students with a connection to the concepts we were learning, the more my students engaged and remembered. And more importantly – were able to apply it to different situations because they hadn’t just memorized isolated skills/steps, but learned in context, and therefore had a connection that they could pull from easily.
One way to bring in context and relevancy is to use pictures of real things that can then be used to apply mathematical concepts, or used to solve interesting problems. If you have technology, where students can actually use the pictures with plotting points or graphs, then it becomes a powerful learning tool. There are lots of ways to do this – I for one used Sketchpad as much as possible in the classroom. What I have found as I work with schools throughout the country is that access to technology with math students on a consistent basis is very limited – laptops shared with 20 teachers, or one computer lab shared with multiple departments. But – graphing calculators are something a majority of students do have access to, and Casio Prizm is one that has built in pictures that can be used in a variety of ways and in a variety of math subjects. Hands-on, real-world, and easily accessible.
Here’s the basics way to access the built-in pictures in the Casio Prizm:
- Choose “I” from the menu (or arrow down to “I”). Hit EXE.
- Click EXE to open the CASIO folder
- Use the arrow key to choose the g3b or g3p folders. Hit EXE.
- Use the arrow keys to scroll through the picture choices to find one that fits – there are so many choices! Hit EXE
- Picture appears, and voila – start exploring! Choose OPTION button to begin.
Obviously, there’s more to it than this – go here to find out more, but what I wanted to share in this post is the built-in pictures already in existence on the Casio Prizm that could create some powerful context and applications for mathematical concepts you might be exploring with your students. Bring the math into students world.
Here’s link to the Casio Prizm Quick Start Guide that is also very helpful.