When he created a Web site for his sixth, seventh, and eighth grade math students, Duane Habecker wanted to provide a resource for nightly homework assignments, grade information, and math help. What he devised was a resource of assignments, homework tips, practice quizzes, and helpful advice for parents who want their children to succeed in math.
Once the site was in operation, and his students at Pleasanton (California) Middle School used it as a learning tool, Habecker realized that it could be beneficial for other students too.
"Like many teachers, I'd like my students to learn how to use other resources for help before seeking me out," he explained. "Some students use my online videos to get help on math problems, and I'm hoping to increase the number of students doing that."
"My students also use the Web site to peek at the math topics to be learned in the next few days," Habecker told Education World. "They feel pretty cool when they come into class telling me that they know what math activity we'll be doing that day."
In addition to his class Web site, Habecker designed a collection of math activities and games that appear on the school's Math Resource page. At the time, it served specifically to assist the district in updating its curriculum to meet new state standards, but with "cookie problems" for fractions, "speeding vehicles" for statistics, and more, it continues to be a great help for teachers in, and outside of, the district.
"I no longer maintain or update the site, but I leave it up for anyone to use," said Habecker. "I love games, especially ones that reinforce or enrich students' understanding of the math topic at hand. I also know that when I am doing something I enjoy, like playing games, my students will naturally enjoy the experience as well."
Habecker's pages feature games and activities in the areas of decimals, fractions, percents, probability, exponents, etc., but his favorite math game is a classic called PIG, a dice game that involves both strategy and luck.
"I especially enjoy using the many, many, many Java applets on the Web to teach math topics," Habecker stated. "Many applets do more to help kids understand and practice math topics than a teacher with a static whiteboard could ever do. I encourage teachers to purchase a projector, making it possible -- with only one classroom computer -- for the entire class to share in the experience of the Java applet."
Article by Cara Bafile
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