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Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Mathematics Resources
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Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
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Content Expert Reviewer

Janet Vignaly
Janet Vignaly is a licensed mathematics teacher who taught high school algebra and geometry in Boston, Massachusetts and also worked with students in afterschool settings for extra help in math. Previously, she worked for four years in Nairobi, Kenya, as a primary school science and math teacher. There she also helped develop literacy and feeding programs for children in impoverished settings. She received her Masters degree from the Teacher Education Program with a focus on mathematics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Content

  • Topics range from number lines and fractions to algebra, geometry, probability/statistics, and others.
  • Some activities could likely be used effectively for exploration of math topics: Focus on Functions (explore graphs and model real world data), Focus on Statistics (design surveys and experiments for students to conduct and represent data on graphs)

Skills

Academic Skills
  • Algebra: plotting points, best-fit lines for data, general characteristics and behaviors of functions.
  • Number Sense: Fractions, number lines, multiples, factors, remainders, estimating.
  • Probability
  • Statistics: measures of central tendency, distribution, visual representations of data.
  • Others include fractals, complex numbers, and optical illusions.
Non-Academic Skills
  • If mixed ability grouping was used, students could explain concepts to each other, talk with each other and share ideas.

Alignment to Standards

Most topics are aligned with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards.

Assessment

There are several scored assessment activities that can follow up exploration activities, offering a way for instructors to see how students are doing.

Structure

  • Instructors choose activities to fit their needs.
  • Content is predefined in nearly all the activities, with the exception of the statistics activities, which could be merged with data collected or chosen by students or instructors.
  • Activities are student-directed.

Addressing Diverse Student Needs

Adaptability
  • The format of the curriculum allows instructors to pick what activities to use and in what order.
  • Many of the assessment activities include the option to set different skills and levels. There are also links to related activities.
  • Developmental level
  • A wide range of ages that are targeted, from elementary (sorting shapes into Venn diagrams and telling time) to high school (exploring derivatives and integrals.
  • The majority of activities seem to be appropriate for middle school and early high school.
Learning Styles Addressed
  • Movement/spatial learning: Geometry activities require students to think spatially.
  • Interpersonal learning: Discussion questions are offered, and some of the exploration activities are designed for students to work together.
  • Artistic learning: Equivalent fractions, tessellation, transformation, and fractal activities all involve artistic representations. 
Multiculturalism
  • Not explicitly addressed in this curriculum

Strengths and Challenges

Strongest Features
  • Free, no cost beyond computers and internet access.
  • Computer format is attractive to students
  • Allows students to do as much practice as they need in selected topics.
  • Gives immediate feedback to students.
Challenges and Drawbacks
  • Preparation is required. 
  • There is no step-by-step guide for students to follow.
  • Some function activities do not use standard mathematical notation.


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