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Search for Free Math Lesson Plans with IBM’s New Teacher Advisor

The right tools and strategies can help teachers make a lasting academic impact on their students, and as technology and computing power advances, the tools are getting smarter, literally. The IBM International Foundation has developed and released a free platform, Teacher Advisor With Watson 1.0, which is designed to strengthen teachers’ math instruction, helping students learn at higher levels.

The application uses Watson’s artificial intelligence technology (made famous as a “competitor” on Jeopardy in 2011); was trained by leading math experts, including the American Federation of Teachers; and incorporated feedback from more than 1,000 teachers from across the U.S. The program provides elementary school teachers with targeted math resources, filling a critical gap for effective teaching strategies that help students improve their proficiency in math, as well as ongoing support.

The program consists of over 1,000 math lessons, paired with teaching strategies and relevant media, with the backbone of Watson’s recommendation system in place. Watson’s AI delivers appropriate next steps that holistically build a child’s understanding of math at a conceptual level.

The benefits of using a program like Teacher Advisor With Watson 1.0 is that it allows one teacher to better meet the needs of a diverse student population. Where the attention to certain students may have been lacking, due to time or other classroom management issues, this kind of tool lends an intelligent, helping hand. According to IBM, not only will the program meet diverse student needs, but will map academic prerequisites and standards to each lesson. Instead of an off-putting testing environment, it will recommend teaching techniques to keep students engaged.

Watson is built with cognitive computing abilities, and trained by teachers in the language of elementary math. Instead of simply returning an answer to a query, Watson recognizes natural language, and returns the answer to a question based on its understanding of that language used in the prompt.

“Teachers shoulder endless challenges and responsibilities—mastering content, standards and curriculum, and meeting the diverse needs and abilities of each of their students,” said American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten. “Too often, teachers are expected to do all this single-handedly, but Teacher Advisor could help change that. The AFT worked hand-in-glove with the IBM Foundation to hone this tool and see how it empowers teachers and benefits students. This effective public-private partnership is a testament to what can be achieved when educators are entrusted with innovative technology to support powerful learning.”

After a teacher logs into Teacher Advisor With Watson, they can search for a topic or concept, and receive personalized recommendations in return. They can search for grade-specific lessons, standards, activities, and teaching strategies, and their Content Discovery page presents the results. The lessons are delivered in a variety of formats, including downloadable PDF’s and videos, that the teacher then implements in the classroom. Students will find that the targeted lessons and activities meet their skill levels, and gain the confidence to keep learning.


Written by Melissa Pelletier, Education Technology Contributor