Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Online Brain

"The Online Brain"

"The Homework Helper"

"The Online Tutor" (as I have it linked to our classroom homepage)

"The One Stop Shop" for all of your classroom assistance.

What am I writing about?

Why Wolfram Alpha of course!
This website is opening up a whole new way of helping kids become successful students.

Just in the past few weeks I have used this site to help students with vocabulary definitions, spelling patterns, longitude/latitude, and state research projects.

But honestly, that is just the tip of the iceberg. I am very excited about its use when checking math problems for immediate feedback as well as locating nutritional values for common foods that don't necessarily have a label printed directly on them (think fruit and veggies here). We are in the middle of our unit of study on the human body and I will be asking students to begin tracking their food intake for a day or two so we can evaluate whether or not we are getting proper nutrition. Using Wolfram Alpha will be a a major contributing factor to these nutritional journals.

I had a wonderful opportunity to show the parents of some of the students who are in my classroom how we are using this site. It is my hope that parents, too, will use this site at home for aiding in homework success. Whether is takes the place of the home dictionary, thesaurus, calculator or conversion tables, students and parents alike will be able to benefit from this resource.

I was also fortunate enough to present Wolfram Alpha to a large crowd of teachers this past Friday to show them how their students could benefit from the site. They were equally as excited as me. I imagine their students will be too! You can read more about that at the Recess TEC Inc. blog.

If you haven't had the opportunity to visit yet, please click on the link and take 10 minutes to look around. Take a look at some of the examples that are listed by subject area. I continue to be amazed and excited about the possibilities for my classroom!

Your first task when you get there...type in hello.


Anonymous said...

I am facinated by WRA! I found the WRA site yesterday and I just finished the video with Shannon Smith. It seems wonderful for the students to "do their homework" on WRA, but how about reading skills needed to find the same information in a text book? Nine year olds need to be taught reading, math, and geography skills before they are turned loose on a website that does all their thinking.

Mrs. Smith said...

I couldn't agree with you more. We work very hard in my 4th grade classroom on mapping skills as well as reading skills across all content areas. WRA allows students the opportunity to have another resource at their fingertips to aid in their learning. It does not take the place of "original" thinking. My 4th graders use context clues to identify the definitions of words and then follow up with WRA to see if they are correct in their thinking. WRA provides another opportunity to expand what they know and sometimes is even a catalyst for them to dig deeper for further understanding. Have you been in a 4th grade classroom to see this in action? It is truly an awesome tool to get kids thinking further about what they are learning in the classroom!