Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Delta Math

The night I was informed that I would be getting a set of Chromebooks for my classroom, I immediately began searching for additional ways to use them in my math classes. One of the first sites I cam across was this presentation on using Chromebooks in the math classroom. In the presentation was a link to another presentation by Julie Reulbach. This presentation had multiple ways that she used Chromebooks in her math classroom as well as a link to her blog. When I went to her blog, I knew I had jackpot with technology resources that I could use in my high school math class. Here was a teacher, in the same state as me, with the same use of technology, and she was blogging about how she incorporated the technology in her math class.

I began to read back through her blog posts and realized that she had taken part of the MTBoS blogging initiative in January and her post "My Favorite: Delta Math"caught my eye. The website didn't have any fancy graphics but it's capabilities were exactly what I wanted for my freshmen students taking Math 1.

Deltamath is a free online math program that has an vast variety of practice problems that can be assigned to students. The problems range from middle school to calculus with everything in between, I couldn't believe my eyes! Surely, if this program had all of this for free, there had to be some catch. But so far, there has been no catch, it really is a great as it seems!

To date, I have only used Delta Math once in my class, as I've only had my Chromebooks for three school day but my students and I are in love. My students used it on Monday as a way to review for their upcoming test on Systems of Equations and Inequalities.  I created 6 different assignments, each one corresponding to a specific concept, for students to work through. Students were able to pick and choose which assignments they completed, based on where they needed the most practice before the test. (When I do this again, I will make it one long assignment.)

It was easy for my students to register and get started. I was given a teacher code that they entered which linked them to my teacher account, then they entered a valid email address (all of our students have a school email address through google) and a password, then they were ready to solve problems. 

Delta Math allows for differentiation. All of my students were able to complete problems at their ability level and gave them a variety of review questions. Each problem has a "Show Example" feature, where students can click and there will be a similar problem worked out with a detailed explanation of what was done. The example is even color coded, just like I would do in class. 

As the teacher, I loved that I was able to go through and pick topics and that each topic had various levels. For instance, the first level of elimination only included problems where students had to add the two equations. For the second level, students had to multiple one equation by a constant in order for a variable to be eliminated and the third level required students to multiply both equations by a constant and was no longer multiple choice. It is wonderful that Delta Math has such a large amount of leveled practice problems on an assortment of topics.

My students thought the graphing feature was great and easy to use. In order to graph a line, students must plot the y-intercept and then use the rise and run of the slope to plot another point to make the line.  In fact, a few asked if they could use the program on their test, as they would rather graph equations on Delta Math to find the intersection than on their calculator. (I actually prefer them to do it this way as it reinforces the concept of slope and y-intercept, not simply punching buttons on the calculator... but they also need practice with the calculator they will use on their state end of course exam.)

The data I receive from Delta Math is simply amazing. There is a real time problem log where the teacher can see what problems students have attempted, the time and date the did the problem, and their answer. For the data driven teacher, this is a goldmine. You can sort the data by class, student, topic or assignment. 

Data by Skill Set
Data by Assignment
Problem Log sorted by Student
Problem Log - Real Time Feed 

Overall, I'm very pleased with Delta Math, as are my students. A few students have even asked when they will be given another assignment to complete. It's a wonderful site that allows easily for differentiation and a variety of practice problems. I know I'll be using it again in the future. 

Thanks Julie for introducing Delta Math to me! 

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