Computer-Based Maths for Educators
CBM is about changing the subject of maths in education, not just telling you how to teach maths differently.
CBM students will be engaged with the real world, a key part of which is using computers for doing most of the calculations. That change may sound daunting, but it's also potentially highly rewarding. Students will work on problems they care about, achieving new heights of understanding and seeing new relevance of maths.
As an individual educator, you have many constraints on changes you can bring in: assessments, curricula and indeed expectations of parents and other teachers who may not understand the CBM vision yet. We are working to make the case top-down for these changes around the world, but we can still help you in two ways today:
First, by helping you to get the vision, so that you can make evolutionary or more radical changes in your lessons. (For example, introduce coding an algorithm to transform an image.)
Second, by giving you as many supplementary activities as we can, as we develop them.Download the free CBM classroom poster now.
Sample questions to work through with your students
How long should my password be?
Estimate the time to crack a password by brute force using combinatorics and data on processing speeds. (Age = Younger lesson plan)
Where is the reflection?
Create an algorithm that accepts the coordinates of a triangle and the equation of a line, then reports the reflected coordinates in the line. (Age = Middle lesson plan)
Are the digits of π truly random?
Use Wolfram|Alpha to generate the digits, then analyse their frequencies. (Age = Older lesson plan)
Concerns with implementing and solutions
I don't know enough maths to do this
Don't worry, all of the materials have comprehensive notes embedded within the content. Training in the use of modules will be provided and all modules are customisable, so that you can adapt questions or save notes as necessary.
I'm not that confident with a computer (the kids know more than me)
Some basic coding awareness will be provided during the training. However, your role in the learning process will be to guide and provide reflection for the students. Using students to lead classroom episodes and share their experience is encouraged as a higher-order skill.
Computer suite is always booked
Plan ahead and convince your school leaders of the importance of real maths. Hardware is necessary, but it doesn't need to be expensive; a set of Raspberry Pis will get you started.
We won't cover today's syllabus
Correct, so we would advise using CBM as an enrichment opportunity until today's curriculum is fit for purpose.
Parents won't like the new approach
Many parents that we talk to work in the real world—they know the issue. There will be some who don't like change, but the skills gained in CBM are what universities, employers and many governments recognise as being important. We have a brochure to assist.
Resources you can use today
While we build CBM materials for you to try, here are a number of related activities that aren't CBM but will give a flavour of the technology and activities available in CBM lessons:
- Find solutions to crosswords and other word problems. For example, words that will fit " _ _ t _ _ t e".
- Look at geographical data. For example, see a cross section of Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Step-by-step solutions to traditional maths problems. For example, completing the square (requires Pro version).
Wolfram Programming Lab
Wolfram Demonstrations Project
- See a range of interactives that Mathematica users have created.
- What structures can be made from triangles?
- Basic gaming algorithms—how to win at tic-tac-toe?
Let's discuss how we can work together.