Posts filed under ‘Websites’

[RESOURCE] SimpsonsMath.com

Title: SimpsonsMath.com
Media: Website
Primary Topic: Math

I’m not alone! Ok, I never thought I was but I’ll take any validation I can get. I stumbled (Googled, actually) onto SimpsonsMath.com yesterday while searching for episodes of Homer saying “Woo hoo!” for a project I’m working on. (It might surprise you to know that “woo hoo!” comes up in far less episodes than one might think…) The page Google sent me to was the “Guide to Mathematics and Mathematicians on The Simpsons” at http://homepage.smc.edu/nestler_andrew/SimpsonsMath.htm and from there I found their main page. It is not only a catalog of references to math on the show but also contains lesson plans built around Simpsons topics such as 2D vs 3D using the classic Treehouse of Horror episode where Homer becomes 3D. It also has links to articles about math in Simpsons and a transcript of a scholarly presentation the site’s owners did. It really is a complete resource.

Motivational Potential
4/5
The only reason I would not give this a perfect score is simple copyright restrictions. The site owners cannot post the clips referred to. That means the teacher will have to do the work of finding them. If the videos could be allowed on the site then I could see students spending a ton of time here exploring. As it is now it is appealing as it can be. It has transcripts of the appropriate clips and some great pictures as well. The activities are interesting overall too. Math can so often be hard to “sell” to kids but this should go a long way to helping overcome that.

Educational Potential
4/5
The activities are wonderful and the commentaries thoughout the site are well-stated and easy to understand even though they tackle some pretty high level math concepts (derivatives!) There isn’t much instruction on how to do these things so teacher input will be required (which is again why it is just shy of a perfect score) but just the exposure to the math concepts alone will be a huge benefit to students.

Overall:
One of the best websites I’ve ever found. The way the activities are set up is truly inspiring and something I am very likely to steal! I love the idea of introducing each question with a scene from the show. If I were a math teacher I would find an excuse to go through as many of the activities as possible whether they applied to my level of students or not. I truly believe motivated students can learn just about anything and this site would certainly motivate. Definitely worth checking out and supporting!

August 22, 2009 at 4:52 pm Leave a comment

[RANT] RIP Popfly, Shame on you Microsoft

Technology is a vile beast. As we all know it goes wrong at the worst possible moments, teases constantly, and is never satisfied to just stay in one place.

It is with that cynical look that I announce the death of Microsoft’s Popfly.com. As of Aug 24 with little to no fanfare Microsoft is ending it. This isn’t the first time a service I’ve used has died but it is the first time one so integral to my classroom has. I used Popfly to create learning games for my website as well as interactive maps.

I actually feel betrayed.

Maybe that is a sign I take all this stuff far too seriously but when I think of how much time I put into it and how much my kids utilized it I’m left very angry. I’ll move on, of course. I guess I’ll finally break down and learn to use Sharendipity now. I’ll use photobucket for my image carousel and there has to be another way to embed maps into my site.

To find out now though, only 2 weeks before the start of school is like getting dumped right before prom.

Microsoft, you’ve broken my heart.

August 20, 2009 at 1:59 pm Leave a comment


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