Algebra and geometry are being taught as real-world skills for the 21st century, as they are now presented through online math textbooks.
The Wichita district has adopted an online textbook this fall which middle and high school students will access through computers. The curriculum reinforces standard math concepts with activities geared toward visual learners, such as games, videos, and drag and drop puzzles.
According to Liz Peyser, a middle-school math coach for the Wichita district, “Everything is done within the context of the new (Kansas College and Career Ready) standards.” The new standards are based primarily on Common Core State Standards, an outline of what students should learn in math and English in each grade through high school.
“We require them to be critical thinkers and problem solvers,” Peyser said. “So everything that is presented is in the real-world context.”
The district partnered with Agile Mind, an education curriculum company, to provide an online textbook that supports the district’s current math curriculum, Peyser said. It was rolled out this fall for algebra and geometry classes at most Wichita middle and high schools.
The district paid $1.4 million for three years of the online math textbook, according to a district spokeswoman. That cost includes professional support and an intervention program for struggling students.
Students use the online textbook in lieu of a standard textbook. Teachers employ projection screens and interactive clickers in class and provide printouts of worksheets when necessary.
At East High School on Wednesday, freshmen in Kirsten Meireis’ Algebra I class calculated which of two potential rose suppliers a soccer team should use for its fundraiser.
The students first figured out how many roses they could order from Roses-R-Red, which charges a $20 service fee and 75 cents a rose. Then they calculated costs using Flower Power, which sells roses for a $60 service charge and 50 cents per rose.