What is BuzzMath
BuzzMath focuses on practicing middle school mathematics skills. It contains high-quality problems with immediate detailed feedback, allowing students to progress at their own pace. Randomly generated values allow students to retry problems to obtain mastery. Parents are assisted by individual student reports that help them guide and monitor their child's progress.
BuzzMath is student centered. Students have access to the Menu and can open any activity of interest, or complete specific activites assigned by their teacher. Activities organized by the Common Core State Standards and the NCTM strands. Completing a set number of activities unlocks special missions related to math history that challenge students to help mathematicians recover lost knowledge. Students also have access to a BuzzLab that connects the theme of the missions to the story line and motivates the accrual of gold stars.
In BuzzMath students work in an untimed setting. Multiple representations are used in both the presentation of the questions and in the systems students use to input their answers (thus not every question is multiple choice). Students monitor their progress on their home page with a system of gold stars.
What are Activities?
BuzzMath content is presented through activities and missions.
An activity consists, on average, of 10 pages of practice questions for students to improve their skills. Activities have a variety of styles from direct practice to interactive components. Completing activities with 100% is a necessary step towards unlocking missions.
A mission is a more challenging problem solving activity that links students to math history and to the BuzzMath story line. Students must solve each page in order to move to the next page. Each mission features a famous mathematician in a fictional story line that is integrated with mathematical history. Upon completion of a mission students collect an object (such as Euclid’s lost Book I of the Elements) that will help restore lost mathematical knowledge and ultimately the beauty and architecture of BuzzCity.
The current missions are The Lost Talisman, Knowledge is the Key, The Secret Rule, Mystery in the Sand of Egypt, Measure Under Pressure, Reaching the Possible.
There will eventually be 15 missions. Alfred is still scanning the globe for where the other missing artifacts might be located. As soon as he figures out where to teleport us, a new mission will become available.
What is the Parent's Role?
Discuss with your child goals to meet. Consider whether these goals will be daily or weekly. Will they involve a minimum amount of time or a specific number of activites to be completed? Some examples include: work in BuzzMath for 20 minutes every day, or complete 4 activities per week.
Parents and students can monitor these goals, through Individual Reports and My Progress.
Select Activities for your Child
Students have free access to all the activities in BuzzMath, but may not know where to start. Before exploring the Menu together, look at work your child has been studying in math, check homework papers, the textbook used, or consult the state standards for your child's grade level.
Students just entering middle school may benefit from beginning in Numeric Expressions in the 6th Grade Common Core.
Order of Operations offers various levels of activities for students needing only 4 operations to those ready for exponents and parentheses.
Integer activities are a next step for expanding from whole numbers to integers. These activities offer interactive number lines and chip models.
Mark selected activities with a favorites icon so these activities readily appear on the student homepage. To do this, sign in on the student account, select a book, access the Menu, select an activity within one of the main concepts and select, "Add to favorites".
Send Messages to Encourage your Child
Use the message system to acknowledge goals met, such as gold stars earned or time spent in BuzzMath. Send your child a note about upcoming activities you would like him or her to work on. Each message you send appears on the screen next time your child signs in. From your home page, go to My Family to send messages to your child.
Follow your Child's Progress
In My Family you have access to the Individual Child Report. The graph allows you to click on any date and see the total time your child spent practicing in BuzzMath. Below the graph you see the activity names that were accessed and information about their progress in those activities. This assists you in directing your child work towards their set goals.
When students enter an answer in BuzzMath, they receive immediate detailed feedback. For a correct answer students see a green check mark and get a congratulatory message from the mathematician on the page. When all questions on the page have been answered correctly they will also see the “This page has been completed successfully” comment with a green check over the page number at the top of their screen. Students still have access to the detailed solution by clicking on the green “Show me the solution” bar below their response.
When a student misses a question, it is marked with a red X . A detailed explanation of how to work the problem correctly appears in the pink zone below the incorrect answer.
When students click the “Check my answer button” on multiple choice inputs, they see all incorrect selections marked by a red X. Selections that should also be included in the solution are labeled with a grey arrowhead icon, while correct selections remain in view but are not marked.
Questions involving True/False statements, matching, ordering, and completion of tables also use the red X icon to indicate incorrect responses.
For tables, matching, ordering, and multiple choice answers, students can click on their incorrect solution and a pop-up of the correct choices will appear alongside their original response to allow for comparison. This feature is in addition to the detailed solution that appears in the pink correction zone.
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When students are unsure of how to attempt a problem, or not quite sure of the format of a response, they can click the “Show me an example” button. This allows them to view a similar problem to the current one being presented. Students can study the steps and apply the strategy or algorithm to the current question. The example can be closed with the “Hide current example” button.
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“Retry this page” produces another question covering the same skill, but with different values. Because values are randomly generated it is unlikely students will receive the exact same values in the new question.
After studying the detailed feedback of a missed question, students can click this Retry button to work a similar problem and earn a green check for completing the question correctly.
Even after a student has completed a page and earned a green check, the student can use “Retry this page” to obtain extra practice questions and continue to receive detailed feedback.
Green Checks and Gold Stars
When a student earns green checks on every page of an activity, they get a gold star. The gold stars are accumulated by strands and visible to the student on their home page under “My Progress”.
The accumulation of a set number of gold stars unlocks historical math missions within each strand.
Audio is provided for those students wishing to have activity questions read to them. The blue “play” button to the left of a question initiates the audio. “Pause” and “stop” buttons appear once the play button is engaged. The text the student hears is highlighted in yellow one paragraph at a time.
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