2000 Conference Proceedings

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Meeting the Standards with Accessible Math Curriculum Software from IntellTools

Suzanne Feit
IntelliTools
South Simi Valley, CA
sfeit@intellitools.com



In this hands-on lab for Windows, participants will be introduced to four programs designed to teach basic math skills to students with special needs. Programs are accessible with a mouse, IntelliKeys or a switch and therefore help foster inclusion. Each program incorporates NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) standards and can be correlated to popular text books. All have undergone intensive evaluation in classrooms around the country.


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Number Concepts 1 uses a seashore motif to build a foundation for mathematical thinking. Its many access features make the program ideal for use with a wide range of students. Participants will explore counting at the beach, beginning addition and subtraction at the tide pool, and helping Mary, the Moray Eel, decide which set of sea creatures is greater in number than the others. In the Explore Mode, participants will create their own problems, while in the Question and Answer Mode, they will solve randomly generated problems. They will use Teacher Options to learn how to customize settings for individual students and review the automatic Tracking System which records how much time each child spends using the program, which problems where completed, and the answers given.

In Number Concepts 2, participants travel to a land of ice and snow where they are joined by their polar guides, Penn and Gwen. Their goal is to fend off Flame, the fiery menace who retreats each time a math problem is answered correctly. Participants will match wits with Flame at the hundreds chart as they identify number patterns, and skip count. At the catapult, they will make ice cubes in the form of ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, and millions to ward off Flame. In the factoring area, they will identify common factors for numbers up to 100. Navigational tools and icons are similar to those in Number Concepts 1, making it easy for students to progress from one program to the other as their skills increase. Like its predecessor, Number Concepts 2 keeps a permanent student portfolio, providing a printout of each session so a teacher or a parent can track each student's progress.


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IntelliTools studied the effectiveness of Number Concepts 2 with students in trials sites across the country over a six month period. In pre-test and post- test assessments, we found that students with disabilities showed considerable gains. A dramatic example of this - three different students scored 0, 0, and 4 (out of 20) on their factoring pre-test and ended up scoring 20, 17, and 14 (out of 20) on the post test.

Participants will then visit the MathPad program. Designed and developed by InfoUse, and distributed by IntelliTools, this useful tool helps students move from concrete problem solving to the more abstract use of algorithms. Using MathPad's electronic worksheet, participants will solve basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problems directly on the computer. They will use the 300 bonus problems that come with MathPad as well as enter their own problems. The program automatically sets up problems using the correct vertical format and enables students with disabilities to work on the same math problems as their peers.

MathPad's many access features make it ideal for students who have difficulty doing math with pencil and paper or who need help organizing or navigating through math problems. It's accessible with a mouse, IntelliKeys, or a switch. Other access features include multiple font size and color options, and auditory feedback.

MathPad Plus: Fractions and Decimals, also designed and developed by InfoUse, starts with the computational power of MathPad, then adds on-screen manipulatives, story problems, and a broad range of powerful custom features. It's an ideal tool for students functioning at a middle school skill level.

Participants will work with problems involving fractions and decimals using the four basic operations. They will enter problems numerically and as word problems. They will explore their solutions using fully accessible on- screen manipulatives which include fraction bars, fraction pies, and decimals grids. Participants will experience how the ability to represent problems both numerically and pictorially, facilitates math understanding and fosters communication for all students. MathPad Plus allows teachers to create problem sets for the whole class or special students. Each student's work is saved in a personal portfolio and assignments can be easily individualized.

In the course of this hands-on workshop, participants will experience the power of combining different software programs to give students the reinforcement and practice needed to perform at their best. They will receive a free copy of either Number Concepts 1 or 2 for use in their classrooms.


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