Fantastically Free First Fridays...Math Snacks!


This is the first of what I intend to make a monthly feature on CrowdED Musings—Fantastically Free First Fridays—where we profile a particularly exceptional free resource...most often a compilation of open and/or free resources. Over time, we will begin to ask folks to explore and share out their ideas and feedback on the resource via our CrowdED Google Group...but we're not quite there, yet ;)

This month's F4 resource of the month is Math Snacks. I was introduced to Math Snacks by the wonderful folks at TERC, who have done their own exceptional work within the world of Adult Numeracy and who run the Adult Numeracy Center

Math Snacks is a series of animations and interactive games, each of which includes student worksheets, supporting teaching resources, and even a teacher video that explains how to use the resource with your students. While it is not a curriculum, the "snacks"all focus on critically important skills within the areas of number sense, ratio, proportion, measurement, scale factor, and pre-algebra.

Math Snacks was developed by way of a National Science Foundation grant by the New Mexico State University Learning Games Lab. (You could spend hours on THAT site learning about lots of cool things, like how washing chicken spreads germs all over the place...yuck!). The research-base upon which the snacks were developed is areas where middle school math students showed the greatest gaps in conceptual understanding.

Bad Date is my absolute favorite example, and I've yet to show this video when presenting without getting a roomful of smiles from folks and lots of "Aha's!" as to how the video could be used effectively with their learners. (Although, perhaps they were just smiling because they were glad to be engaged with something other than me droning on....)



All of the print resources and animations can be downloaded, and a couple of the games have iOS apps as well.

While the snacks were developed for Middle School, I feel a good portion of the content is perfectly appropriate for adult learners. And, if we want to discuss relevance of the actual math covered in Math Snacks, according to the National Council on Education and the Economy's study, What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready?, it's highly significant. From the report: 

"The most important preparation for the college mathematics courses observed in this study is solid understanding of middle school mathematics and some basic algebra as defined by the CCSSM." (p. 36)
So why would I start with Math Snacks as my first F4 feature? Simple. This is one of the major roles I want CrowdED Learning to be able to play for adult educators. I'm fairly certain it's a relatively infrequent occurrence that, when an educator or learner is in need of engaging math content, they think to themselves, "Gee...perhaps I should shoot on over to New Mexico State University's Digital Learning Games Lab site." (Although, they actually should, because beyond the learning lab, NMSU also runs a fantastic numeracy site, Mathematically Connected Communities.) The point being, there are so many amazing diamonds in the rough out there, and we believe it's important to champion these resources and work to develop ways to make them easier to find and implement into teaching and learning. 

So, I encourage you to take a look at this month's Fantastically Free First Friday resource of the month, and be sure share with other educators. Happy snacking!

To learn more and stay up to date on our goings-on, please check out www.crowdedlearning.org and sign up to stay in touch, volunteer your expertise, or make a content recommendation. We look forward to hearing from you!

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