Self-training – Level 2

Exploring the second level will help you take advantage of the tools available to students who are just discovering the platform in order to better assist them with their learning activities. Here, you’ll find resources to support the efforts that you probably already make everyday in your classes. For example, you’ll see how to motivate your students and decrease the crisis management that sometimes accompanies the subject of mathematics!

Choose a station:

Introduction

Let’s separate the content that I’ve prepared into 3 stations. These sections are intended to give an overview of the learning tools that are available to students so that you can get the most out of Buzzmath. Without further ado, let’s go explore these three stations!

Station 1: Personalize your students’ accounts

Station 2: Find your way in the Buzzmath architecture

Station 3: Explore the toolbox

Station 1: Personalize your account and your students’ accounts

A Buzzmath account can look very different from one user to the next. Although teachers generally aren’t too concerned about this feature, students LOVE personalizing their accounts! Here are three features that can have a major impact on your students’ level of engagement.

First, at the start of the year, there are 2 interesting options that can be found in the “My Account” section of Buzzmath’s home page. You can access it by simply clicking on the avatar at the bottom of the sidebar.

From there, students and teachers can modify their accounts.

  1. Change the theme by clicking on the button at the top right side of the screen. You’ll see that there is a huge range of options available to you!
  2. You can change your avatar by selecting the pencil that appears beside the inset image.
  3. You can even change the timezone!

Please note that we made sure to offer more variety for students than for teachers! Here are some examples taken from a teacher account and a student account:

Options in a teacher account

Options in a student account

You may not need to give your students the grand tour, but once they know about this option, they never go without it!

Award a badge

During the year, you can also add your two cents to your students’ learning experience!

At any time, you can send a personalized badge to any of your students. To do this, go to the “Individual Report,” select the student you have in mind, and then find the “Award a badge” button.

We have created a system of badges where the names correspond to each of the interdisciplinary skills in the curriculum. Please note that it is not mandatory to use this structure for the formal evaluation of student competence. Here is what the badge award page looks like when you select the “Award a badge” tab.

When selecting a badge, you can personalize the message that will accompany the badge or opt for the message proposed by our team.

By using this option, you can highlight your students’ good efforts by documenting their personal portfolio.

And that’s the end of the first station. Let’s take a little break. You can use it to go check out the different features we just talked about. That’s the best way to refine your understanding and see if you have any questions to ask me on the topic.

Here’s my email again: support+sarah@buzzmath.com

Station 2: Find your way

In this station, the goal is to go over the different types of books that you can find on your home page. That way, you’ll be better able to find content that meets your needs during the year.

There are 5 different types of books on the platform:

  • Activities;
  • Explorations;
  • Demonstrations;
  • Puzzles;
  • Missions.

Not surprisingly, you can find these books in the Books section on the sidebar.

Activity Books

First, all of the blue books are filled with math activities that are aligned with your curriculum. These books cover all grades from the 1st year of primary school to the three sections of the 4th year of secondary school. This is where you’ll find activities that will help your students develop their math skills. We’ll come back to this, but I’ll let you take a look at what an activity looks like.

Explorations

The binoculars represent the book that contains all of the explorations on Buzzmath. These particular activities are designed to allow students to manipulate numerical objects to enhance their understanding of certain mathematical concepts. For example, there is an exploration in which students can manipulate money and observe the total value that is updated in real-time!

Geometric constructions

This play icon represents the geometric constructions. To give an example, a teacher can use demonstrations to facilitate teaching how to use a protractor. In this particular case, the teacher is spared using the protractor on his or her interactive whiteboard (an adventure that can prove to be full of obstacles).

Here, simply click on the play button to move on to the next step or click on the stop button to return to the start of the animation.

Brain teasers

The map represents the book that contains the Brain Teasers. This book is particularly popular with students, who are always asking for more! Brain Teasers do not have a detailed solution. To successfully complete them, the only issue is perseverance!

Missions

Accessible from your home page, the missions are part of a scripted story dreamed up by the Buzzmath team. On the one hand, this section of the platform is designed to offer a fun setting that makes students want to continue the adventure and do math when it’s not compulsory. On the other hand, the missions are a window into the world of famous mathematicians from different eras. The missions also make it easy to integrate the history of mathematics into the math content covered during the year.

Unfortunately, the minimum grade suggested to tackle the missions is around the 5th year of primary school. However, they are still accessible to all and can be used to pique the curiosity of students in the lower grades.

Now that we’ve toured all of the options hiding in the existing book menu together, I invite you to go and really explore them to see exactly what they’re all about.

It’s time for the 2nd break! This seems like a good time to go play around a bit with the brain teasers.

If you have any questions, you know where to find us:

support+sarah@buzzmath.com

Station 3: Explore the toolbox

In the first 2 stations, you learned how to personalize your account, whether it’s a teacher or student account. You also explored the variety of books found on the home page. In the third section, we’ll take a look at the tools available to students. Let’s go…

The tool bar

The toolbox contains 4 intriguing symbols: the pencil, the speaker, the book and the calculator.

The pencil

This option contains a set of graphical tools created through the recommendations of teachers who wanted to allow students to continue using the reading strategies implemented in the classroom. For example, highlighting important words in the statement.

The Calculator

You may have recognized the calculator, which is sometimes useful to make simple calculations without needing to get everything out of your pencil cases. It is a basic calculator that can be used to add, subtract, multiply and divide.

The glossary

The Pi symbol leads directly to the visual glossary or to the reference glossary, depending on what grade you’re in when you consult it.

The visual glossary

Available for the primary activities, it provides descriptions of mathematical terms that include images. It also allows students to manipulate some objects in order to improve their understanding of the term.

The reference glossary

It is glossary of mathematical formulasavailable in secondary activities. It’s an essential tool for students to solve problems in Buzzmath.

Speech synthesis

A support measure has also been integrated in Buzzmath. It’s the speech synthesis that you can find close to each paragraph on the platform once it is activated through the Toolbox. This tool is represented by the blue speaker in the margins of the activity. By clicking on this button, the text is highlighted and the word being read is displayed in a different colour. This is called word tracking.

Feedback Loop

In Buzzmath, mistakes are part of the learning process. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that students can simply enter a random answer and get a solution to recopy. 

To favour students’ involvement in learning, Buzzmath offers a feedback loop for many of its activities that goes beyond simply giving the student the answer.

The first step is to let the students know they made a mistake and give them a chance to correct their answer. Then, if they’re still blocked, they can see where they made the mistake.

Students can also see a detailed explanation on certain pages of how to get the correct result. They will also be given some guidelines to help them reflect on how to succeed the next time around. They can redo the same activity, but with different values.

This way, students gain confidence that they can complete a challenge without simply copying answers. It’s a good step towards perseverance and the development of a growth mindset. The feedback loop helps students understand the concepts without giving them the answer right away.

This is Buzzmath’s greatest strength! An incorrect answer simply means that a notice is displayed to draw the student’s attention to what’s wrong. Sometimes, it’s just a careless mistake, but it can also be a symptom of a mistaken approach and then it’s possible to intervene on this emerging difficulty as soon as it appears.

To summarize, if a student makes an error, then the detailed solution is displayed and the student can restart the page as many times as they wish! It’s the number of attempts that will be visible to the teacher.

Dynamic data

You’re probably thinking that it’s ridiculous to give the solution to the students before they have succeeded at the page by themselves! Well, it would be, if the information in the problem statement remained the same from one attempt to the next. However, in Buzzmath, that’s not the case: the data are dynamic. They change each time the page is refreshed.

The integrated lexicon

Finally, the last tool available to students is the mathematical lexicon. This lexicon is integrated into the platform itself so that if a word appearing in it appears in the statement of a problem, you only need to hover over that word for a direct link to its definition to appear.

I encourage you to go test each of these tools to more easily assist your students (or your teachers) as they explore the platform. That way, before intervening, you can ask them:

 

  • Did you highlight the important words?
  • Did you use the calculator to check your calculations?
  • Is this concept in the glossary?
  • Did you go see the example?
  • Are there any words you don’t understand? Are they in the glossary?
  • Did you make an attempt? The detailed solution could help you!

 

By drawing on these questions, you’ll increase the amount of time you can spend really helping your students to develop their math skills!

WARNING

Your students may…

…receive a badge that you did not send them!

In fact, in addition to the general skills badges that you learned about earlier in this training, your students will probably be awarded knowledge badges without you doing anything.

Don’t worry!

It’s a system that the Buzzmath team set up to encourage students to continue their adventures on the platform.

From certain sections of the activities menu, you can find a progress bar with locks. After completing an activity, the student will see the bar being coloured in until it passes the limit set by the first lock (here, the limit is 10 activities).  

When the limit is passed, a secret activity will be offered to the student and if they manage to complete it in less than three attempts, they will earn a badge, such as the bronze Arithmetic – Number Sense badge.

Be warned, it will be just the beginning for this student!

…try missions before you even talk to them about it!

Just like in a teacher account, the students have access to ALL THE CONTENT on Buzzmath. This includes the missions! At the start of the year, some students may be curious to find out what’s in the Laboratory section and end up visiting the first mission, “Introduction to Buzzmath.” Once again, although this introduction is more accessible, it’s important to note that the target math level for the first mission corresponds to about the 5th grade (end of the school year). A little bit of context can change discouragement into perseverance!

What?!?!

We’re already finished going over the content from level 2 of this training?

Still, I can’t tell if you were really listening to my explanations, so I have an idea of how to keep tabs on what you’ve learned during our discussions.

It’s a simple question that goes like this:

I’m Sarah, chief editor at Buzzmath, and it would be my pleasure to guide you through your 2nd self-training adventure!

Please note that at any time, if you have a question for me, the easiest way to reach me is by email at: support+sarah@buzzmath.com