Okay, all set. Welcome, welcome, welcome to the Guzinta Math blog! Here you’ll see things about what we’re developing and thinking about at Guzinta Math, along with content we can’t yet predict.
For the past two years, and likely for the next year or so, we have been and will continue to be mostly heads-down developing supplemental math lesson apps for middle school—6th, 7th, and 8th grades. As of this writing, we have fifteen Grade 6 lesson apps, seven Grade 7 lesson apps, and one Grade 8 lesson app. All of our math lesson apps are FREE Chrome apps, which can be found and installed on the Chrome Web Store or on our website. The Grade 7 and 8 lesson apps are compatible with Chrome OS (Chromebooks) only, and the Grade 6 apps are currently compatible with all operating systems (though that will stop being the case in early 2018). We have plans down the road to make sure that all of our apps work (in Chrome) with all operating systems. Stay tuned.
How Do the Apps Work?
Each lesson app contains 3 modules and instructor notes, which can be downloaded as a PDF. Each module contains video instruction, text or animated worked examples, and/or interactive instructional tools, along with short-response questions for students. Below, for example, is a short “in action” video from the first module of the Grade 6 Equations and Inequalities lesson app. It features Sal the Lizard, an interactive instructional game for teaching students about inequalities and graphing inequalities. Not shown here is that students are given audio directions for the interactive when they click on it.
The lesson app Equations and Inequalities is a bit of an outlier, because it is heavy on interactives. There is one in each module of that lesson app, actually. This is usually not the case. But the above layout is what you see in pretty much every module of every lesson app—interactives, videos, and worked examples on the left side and short-response questions on the right. Both sides are separately scrollable, and both sides also automatically scroll as students answer questions. You can see this in the “in action” video below, from the Grade 6 Quadrants in the Plane lesson app.
This is also a bit of an outlier, in that both sides scrolled together after just one question. That happens in the Quadrants in the Plane lesson app for a few questions, because we need the full right side to allow students to plot points to complete the problem. In most cases, a worked example, video, or interactive is used for a handful of questions on the right. These scroll automatically as students answer them, and then the left side scrolls automatically once the lesson is ready to move on to the next example. You can see that when you answer incorrectly, a red X is shown for a moment. When you answer correctly, a yellow star appears and a “ding” plays. No penalty applies to answering questions incorrectly. The red X is not accompanied by any sound at all.
We’ll come back to talk about features in a different post. But one thing that is visible in the video above is the drawing canvas, which is powered up by clicking on the left sidebar—the sidebar is present in all three modules of every lesson app. Turning on the drawing canvas allows teachers and students to draw all over the top of the screen—to highlight information, write notes, etc. You can choose four different colors: red, green, black, and blue.
When students complete all the items in a module correctly, an “applause” is played and a certificate of completion is displayed, which can be downloaded by a simple click. Below is an example of a certificate from the Grade 7 Proportion Equations lesson app.
More to Come
Okay, we’ve gone on with this welcome for far too long already. Thanks for sticking it out, and watch this space in the future for longer-form updates on our lesson apps, their features, and middle school math in general.