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New Video Resources for Measures of Central Tendency April 3, 2020

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Media4Math has just posted eight new videos on the topic of Measures of Central Tendency. These videos cover topics ranging from mean, median, mode, sample mean, mean of a probability distribution and can be used with any unit on data analysis. Here is a list of the videos, along with links.

Video Tutorial: Measures of Central Tendency: Finding the Mean of a Data Set I
Video Tutorial: Measures of Central Tendency: Finding the Mean of a Data Set II
Video Tutorial: Measures of Central Tendency: Finding the Median of a Data Set
Video Tutorial: Measures of Central Tendency: Weighted Mean
Video Tutorial: Measures of Central Tendency: Finding the Mode of a Data Set
Video Tutorial: Measures of Central Tendency: The Mean and Normally Distributed Data
Video Tutorial: Measures of Central Tendency: Sample Mean
Video Tutorial: Measures of Central Tendency: Mean of a Probability Distribution

New Resources on Place Value April 1, 2020

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We recently published seven video tutorials on place value, useful for students in upper elementary. Here is a summary of these videos:

  1. Comparing and Ordering Whole Numbers Using Place Value
  2. Comparing and Ordering Decimals Using Place Value
  3. Organizing Data Using Place Value
  4. Reading and Writing Whole Numbers in Expanded Form
  5. Reading and Writing Decimals in Expanded Form
  6. Rounding Whole Numbers
  7. Rounding Decimals

Each video is about 4 to 5 minutes in length and includes several real-world examples each concept. Each video also includes a transcript, which, for subscribers, is a downloadable PDF.

Math Resources for Studying the Corona Virus March 31, 2020

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In the current issue of Math in the News, Media4Math investigates the Corona Virus from a math perspective.

The dramatic growth in cases of the Corona Virus is a real-world opportunity to explore exponential functions. In this issue of Math in the News, students explore exponential growth and exponential functions.

This issue uses real-world data sets, along with graphing calculator activities for analyzing this data.

Media4Math Resources Are Standards Aligned March 31, 2020

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We have added a Standards Alignment page to Media4Math: https://media4math.com/CCSS-Alignment. Here you will find how resources in our vast digital library align to the Common Core State Standards. This becomes a quick way of identifying digital resources for lesson planning.

Why Are Castles So Tall? January 2, 2019

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Encouraging a Mathematical Mindset

Ask your math students this question: Why are castles so tall? Students of all ages and grades can provide an answer, and while the goal isn’t to get a mathematical answer from your students, it provides an opportunity to frame a mathematical question.

All children are familiar with castles from fairy tales, as well as from myths and legends. Cultures around the world have different types of castles. Show your students pictures of castles from different parts of the world. Here are some examples.


Himeji Castle, Japan


Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

pierrefonds-castle-535531_1920 (1)

Château de Pierrefonds, France

The castle shown at the top of this blog is Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. Ask your students what all the castles shown have in common. Don’t immediately go to height as a common characteristic, or you may miss some interesting observations from your students.

You can also show them this Google Earth tree view from the top of Edinburgh Castle in Scotland (view in Chrome): Click here.

Media4Math Classroom has a lesson module on this that explores castle height from the standpoint of indirect measurement. In particular, a castle’s defenses would have required as much advance notice of an approaching army and a tall castle provides a line of sight that reveals longer distances. This module uses trig ratios as a means of calculating distances.

But the topic of castle height isn’t restricted to the province of trig. Here are some ideas that you can use to incorporate this topic of castle height into your math instruction.

Low Floor-High Ceiling Ideas: Castle Height

  • Create a castle tower using Lego blocks. Count the number of blocks needed to build the tower. Math question: How many Lego blocks would it take to build a tower ten times taller?
  • Create a castle tower from available classroom materials. Measure the angle the tower makes with the floor.


Math questions:

— How does the angle change as the tower increases in height? 

— What would you need to do to maintain the angle measure for a taller tower?

  • Look at the triangle formed by the height of the tower, its distance from an observer, and the top of the tower.


— Math question: What kind of triangle is this? 

  • This is the view from the top of Neueschwanstein Castle. The castle is 213 feet tall and  provides a panoramic view.

Math investigation: Estimate how far into the distance you can see from the top of the castle.



Why Media4Math Classroom? December 2, 2018

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Have you noticed how the “real world” applications in math textbooks are never all that compelling, interesting, or for that matter realistic? In fact, many “real world applications” in math textbooks are contrived.

There’s a reason for this.

Textbooks are very formulaic in their delivery. Editors have a limited number of pages to convey key math concepts, so anything out of the ordinary, like a rich real-world example of a math problem, has the potential to take up a lot of book real estate.

But as math educators we know that rich math problems can’t be shoehorned into a half-page textbook feature. In fact, real-world math problems have these characteristics:

  • They cover multiple math topics clustered around the central real-world applications.
  • They don’t have a single solution, but offer a rich variety of solutions.
  • They require thoughtful approaches and creative problem solving.
  • They are challenging and can even be fun.
  • They are not the stuff of textbooks.

To convey the richness of math, you often have to take it upon yourself to create these rich math experiences. This is where Media4Math Classroom can help you.

“Real” Real World Math Problems

Media4Math Classroom is a growing collection of instructional modules that don’t shy away from real world applications of math. We do what textbooks stay away from.

Here’s an example from one of our modules, “What Is Function Notation?


We use the scenario of a cheetah chasing a gazelle to explore and apply functions. The underlying problem that we explore is based on the following premise:

  • Cheetahs can quickly accelerate to catch gazelles, but they can only maintain this speed for a short while.
  • Gazelles, while not as fast as cheetahs, have adapted to dart away from the cheetah long enough to tire out the cheetah.
  • How can we model this behavior mathematically to see when a cheetah successfully catches the gazelle, and when the gazelle gets away?

The goal of this module isn’t to apply math to some contrived problem. Instead, the goal is to fully investigate a phenomenon and bring to bear the relevant math to better understand it. So, this module explores this scenario and in the process the following math concepts are used:

  • Exploring a speed vs. time graph so that students can see the powerful acceleration of the cheetah. This Desmos-based graphing calculator activity has students do curve-fitting, explore quadratics, but mostly to see the raw power of the cheetah mathematically.

Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 4.42.55 PM

  • Explore the domain and range of the piecewise function that defines the cheetah’s motion.

Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 4.46.05 PM

  • Analyze the distance-vs-time graphs for the cheetah-vs-gazelle to see that the cheetah has more than enough time to catch the gazelle. This is also a Desmos graphing calculator activity.

Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 4.48.05 PM.png

  • From this, students can see that everything is stacked against the poor gazelle, and yet it finds ways of escaping the cheetah. This is explored mathematically through this displacements-vs-time graph, which maps the distance between the cheetah and gazelle.

Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 4.51.21 PM

Throughout this module students pursue the story of the cheetah and gazelle not to solve a specific (textbook) math problem but to understand a natural phenomenon mathematically. This is the approach we take in Media4Math Classroom.

Tell us what you think. Write to us at admin@media4math.com.




Why OER Resources Matter May 23, 2016

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Video: Algebra Nspirations: Inequalities April 28, 2016

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Video: Algebra Nspirations: Inequalities, Segment 4 #homeschool #elearning http://ow.ly/4mVfMO

Worksheet–Ordered Pairs, Quadrant II, W April 28, 2016

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Worksheet–Ordered Pairs, Quadrant II, Worksheet 04 #homeschool #elearning http://ow.ly/4mVfMN

Worksheet–Using the Distance Formula, W April 28, 2016

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Worksheet–Using the Distance Formula, Worksheet 41 #homeschool #elearning http://ow.ly/4mVfMM