Today’s site of the day is not incredibly interactive, but it is a great site for children nonetheless. Math word problems are always the bane of any students school experience. However, the Aunty Math site helps make the experience a little more interesting, relevant to students and less “text-booky”.
Every second week, “Aunt Math” sends a math word problem in the form of a letter to students recounting math experiences she has had with her neices and nephews. These stories are usually seasonal or center around another theme. The stories are easy to read, in large print and entertaining. At the end of each story, Aunt Math poses a math problem for students to figure out. Within the site are also tips for solving math problems, information on how these problems are related to math curriculum for parents and teachers and Aunt Math also provides solutions to each problem. The site also provides easier math problems for younger students or students who are having difficulty with the math concepts creating a nice scaffold for the various levels of students in your class. As the easier problems share the same storyline, students don’t have to feel that they are doing something different because they are “dumb”.
Unfortunately, the thing that really made the site neat and interactive has been discontinued. When students were done with their solutions, they could write in to Aunt Math and explain to her their solution and how they figured it out. The responses from all the students would be listed on a seperate page like comments on a blog. Aunt Math would write back giving them tips or encouragement. My students really enjoyed that aspect and would take the email home to show their parents. As I checked back prior to writing this, I discovered that that is no longer being done. Citing a “commitment to promoting responsible use of the Internet for children,” the site has stopped responding to individual e-mails. Now, I am not sure how this is promoting a responsible use of the internet as it seems to me that they are just advocating that students should not be using the internet as a communication tool at all instead of teaching how to use it safely. Also, if you were advocating a safe and responsible use of the internet wouldn’t you just set guidelines as to how comments were placed on the site along with a way to filter comments instead of going completely to one end of the spectrum and banning any communication at all? I think the site is just taking the easy way out.
Having said that though, the site is still useful and I enjoy the stories and challenges. It makes word problems that are more interesting and relevant for students.