Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Site That Will Solve Math Problems? Sounds Impossible, But It's True!

Math has a language of its own teachers correctly say. Like science, it is akin to learning to function in another language. This situation becomes a bit more complicated when you have ELLs trying to learn the language of math in a language that is not their own. Teachers are English speaking and often times are not able to fully explain complex topics in enough detail to make the content accessible to ELLs. Dictionaries come into play, but most kids (including many EOs) are not really familiar with how to use a dictionary effectively. A glossary might surface sometimes, but a glossary only works if the ELL is proficient in her/his home language. If the student is a limited bilingual (not proficient in either language), s/he will find the glossary difficult to navigate.

MATH PROBLEM SOLVER is a site that might be a good resource to support weaker students (ELLs especially) in math class (ANY math class--from basic arithmetic through calculus). Students find the area of math that the class is working on and then input a problem that they need help in solving. The program not only gives the answer, but also the steps followed to arrive at the correct answer. Though it is in English, it is not overly wordy so ELLs won't become lost in math language. That component will make more sense as the ELL feels more comfortable answering questions with minimal English. When the solving becomes clear, the language associated with it will make more sense.

I have some other sites to assist struggling students which I will bring in this month. Again, everything I share is FREE.



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