December 2012

In this issue:
Win an Everything Bundle! | Make It Real Learning Activities and the Common Core | Moody's Mega Math Challenge | DISCOUNT! | How are we doing? We'd love to hear from you! | Video Resource: HippoCampus.org | Flipped Classroom: Q&A with Kelly Way | Yes, the 2012-13 Reel Math Video Challenge has begun!


Win an Everything Bundle!

Like us on Facebook for a chance to win an Everything Bundle. We'll randomly select a winner on Jan 7, 2013 from those who've "liked" the Make It Real Learning Facebook page. We'll announce the winner on Facebook and in January's newsletter.

Make It Real Learning Activities and the Common Core

Common core logo

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. To date, forty-five states have adopted the Common Core Standards and are working to develop new assessments to measure student success based on these new standards.

Content standards have been a part of educational reform at the local, state, or national level for many years. However, the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics offer a new and exciting focus that has not been seen before – Standards for Mathematical Practices. These mathematical practices focus on the ways of thinking and habits of thinking necessary for students to understand mathematical ideas that can be used as they prepare for college and career.

The philosophy of the Make It Real Learning team is in sync with the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practices. Let’s look at the eight mathematical practices and see how the Make It Real Learning approach can support the development of these practices.

Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practices

View the standards

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
    Solving problems is at the heart of the Make It Real Learning approach. Students can better make sense of problems that are based on real-world situations. As students work to solve these problems, they learn to persevere. Perseverance is best learned by, well, persevering! Initially, perseverance may mean that a student sticks to it for just a minute or two. As students find success solving interesting problems that are connected to motivational contexts, they are apt to stick to a problem for longer periods of time before giving up.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
    Rather than to only mimic procedures, students using activities based on real-world contexts must engage in reasoning. In fact, the activities often ask students to explain their thinking, to make connections, and to justify their arguments. These kinds of activities will help students to reason abstractly and quantitatively. Also, the activities make appropriate use of mathematical symbolism to help students move from the concrete to abstract.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
    When working to solve real problems, students often need to construct an argument defending their thinking, their problem solving approach, or their conclusions. This is a skill that will be beneficial for preparing students for college and career. All of the activities can be easily incorporated into group work and/or classroom discussions and instructors are encouraged to do so. When working together with a partner or a team, students will be afforded the opportunity to listen to the reasoning of others and to provide feedback. Learning to provide constructive criticism of the reasoning of another is a valuable skill that can be developed while solving real-world problems.
  4. Model with mathematics.
    The Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practices states, “mathematically proficient students can apply the mathematics they know to solve problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace.” The Make It Real Learning activities provide students the opportunity to develop this problem solving ability.
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
    These tools include paper and pencil, calculators, Internet resources, measuring devices, and even mental images. Students need to learn not only how to use these tools but also when to use these tools appropriately. Some computations can and should be performed mentally (e.g. 6 x 8 = 48) while others can be done efficiently, in the context of a real-world problem situation, using a calculator. In some problem situations, students may need to conduct research to learn more about the situation as they make sense of the problem. Collecting data, making measurements, using concrete tools to model a situation are real-world problem solving strategies.
  6. Attend to precision.
    Certainly, computing accurately is part of attending to precision. Another important part of attending to precision is helping students to develop precise explanations and descriptions of their thinking, their conclusions, and their strategies. As students construct viable arguments, write down their conclusions, or orally present their thinking, we can help them to do so precisely. Describing the mathematics as it connects to a real-world situation can be helpful in developing this precision.
  7. Look for and make use of structure.
    One of the goals of the Make It Real Learning approach is to help students to develop a conceptual understanding of the mathematical ideas that they are learning. For example, the idea of a linear function is strongly connected to the idea of a constant rate of change. As students work to make sense of linear functions in a real-world context, they can better see the structure of the mathematics and make important conceptual connections.
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
    Mathematics is often described as the science of patterns. Students who learn to identify patterns can develop a profound understanding of the mathematical ideas. While working in real-world contexts, students are often encouraged to practice reasoning about the solution methods so that the ideas can be developed in a profound way.

The Common Core Standards initiative is committed to assessing students’ development of these mathematical practices. That is, student success on standardized tests at the state level will soon require that students work to develop them. Using the Make it Real Learning Activities, students will be led through a development of the above-mentioned mathematical practices while working in real-world contexts.

Moody's Mega Math Challenge

Moody's Math Challenge

REGISTER BY Feb 22, 2013

From the their website: "The M3 Challenge spotlights applied mathematics as a powerful problem-solving tool, as a viable and exciting profession, and as a vital contributor to advances in an increasingly technical society. Scholarship prizes total $115,000. The Challenge is entirely Internet-based and there are no registration or participation fees. Each high school may enter up to two teams of three to five junior and/or senior students."

More information here. Note: The challenge is only open to 29 of the US states at this time (the Challenge hopes to be nationwide in the USA by 2016).

What an exciting way to make math real!


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Video Resource: HippoCampus.org


HippoCampus.org has posted a collection of educational videos (math as well as other topics). According to the site, "HippoCampus is a project of the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE). The goal of HippoCampus is to provide high-quality, multimedia content on general education subjects to high school and college students free of charge."

U shaped arrowFlipped Classroom: Q&A with Kelly Way

Kelly Way, one of our tremendous customers and a high school math teacher, shared her experience with her flipped classroom. Thank you, Kelly!

Kelly has kindly offered to field questions directly. If you have questions for Kelly, please send us an email and we'll get you in touch with Kelly.

If you're new to the concept of Flipped/Inverted classrooms, Knewten.com has a great overview infographic to get you started.

Yes, the 2012-13 Reel Math Video Challenge has begun!

This year's Reel Math Challenge has begun!

From Reel Math's site: "Open to any US resident in grades six through eight, the contest challenges students to create a video that uses a real-world application to teach the math concept in a problem of their choosing from the 2012-13 MATHCOUNTS School Handbook, freely available for download here:


Public voting, which begins in January, will decide which videos advance through the competition. Four finalist teams will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2013 MATHCOUNTS National Competition, where they will present their videos. Each member of the team that creates the winning video will receive a $1,000 college scholarship. In addition, any team that enters videos in the contest becomes eligible for weekly gift card drawings.

All entries will be added to a free online library indexed to specific math concepts, difficulty levels, and Common Core Standards. Check out the more than 300 videos entered from last year, all searchable and categorized into fourteen math topics:


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