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Let's Hit the Target!

Manouchehri Azita, Ozturk Ayse, and Sanjari Azin

In this article we illustrate how one teacher used PhET cannonball simulation as an instructional tool to improve students' algebraic reasoning in a fifth grade classroom. Three instructional phases effective to implementation of simulation included: Free play, Structured inquiry and, Synthesizing ideas.

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Using Scratch Programming to Explore Coordinates

Erell Germia and Nicole Panorkou

We present a Scratch task we designed and implemented for teaching and learning coordinates in a dynamic and engaging way. We use the 5Es framework to describe the students' interactions with the task and offer suggestions of how other teachers may adopt it to successfully implement Scratch tasks.

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Virtual Place Value

Justin T. Burris

Compare how third graders think mathematically when using virtual versus concrete base-ten blocks to learn place-value concepts.

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Back-to-school shopping

Kevin Phillippi

This department showcases students' in-depth thinking and work on previously published problems. The August 2012 problem scenario leverages back-to-school shopping advertisements for this real-life scenario about making purchases using discount coupons. To access the full-size activity sheet, go to http://www.nctm.org/tcm, Back Issues.

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Fostering optimization ideas in early grades

Abdulkadir Erdogan and H. Bahadir Yanik

iSTEM: Integrating Science, Technology, and Engineering in Mathematics authors share ideas and activities that stimulate student interest in the integrated fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in K-grade 6 classrooms. This article describes how optimization ideas can be fostered in early grades through a game-based activity called Avoiding Invasion from Aliens

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Singing and gaming to math literacy

Ann Bremner

Games and videos lend themselves to student engagement and learning, but how do teachers determine what is most beneficial to student learning? How can we effectively incorporate technology into our teaching of mathematics?

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Using Technology to Balance Algebraic Explorations

Terri L. Kurz

Free, Web-based balance tools can help students visualize the concept of the equal sign as the pivot point of an equation.

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Using voice recorders to capture their thinking

Brandt S. Lapko

Teachers share success stories and ideas that stimulate thinking about the effective use of technology in K–grade 6 classrooms. This article describes how students can use available technology to communicate and share their thinking in popular media formats.

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Abby and the number line

Kurt J. Rosenkrantz

Students say some amazing things. Back Talk highlights the learning of one or two students and their approach to solving a math problem or prompt. Each article includes the prompt used to initiate the discussion, a portion of dialogue, student work samples (when applicable) and teacher insights into the mathematical thinking of the students. In this month's episode, a six-year-old rising first grader uses a computer simulation to understand addition and subtraction on the number line.

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A picture is worth 100 math ideas

Jennifer Orr and Jennifer Suh

Teachers share success stories and ideas that stimulate thinking about the effective use of technology in K—grade 6 classrooms. One way to keep young students engaged and interested in practicing counting is to involve them in using cameras. This article explains how first graders capture 100 images, use Windows MovieMaker or PhotoStory to turn the still images into a video, and then narrate a story using precise math vocabulary to explain their mathematical thinking.