Lynn Selking, GPAEA Math Specialist
According to the STEM Scale-Up Program Menu for 2016-2017, “ST Math is game-based instructional software designed to boost math comprehension and proficiency through visual learning. Integrating with classroom instruction, ST Math incorporates the latest research in learning and the brain and promotes mastery-based learning and mathematical understanding. The ST Math software games use interactive, graphically-rich animations that visually represent mathematical concepts to improve conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills.”
What does it look like to do math through “visual learning?” What does “graphically-rich” mean? Does this mean a video game format with a lot colors and shapes moving about on the screen? No. In ST Math, there is a quite engaging penguin fellow named Ji Ji who is always trying to get somewhere. The task of the student is to help JiJi get to where he needs to go. The software uses no language to introduce or teach concepts. Instead, the game responds to user actions with instant feedback that is linked to both the mathematical concepts in mind and the mathematical implications of the choice of the student. Connected mathematical representations are what make learning visual and the graphics rich.
The image shows JiJi moving to where the student placed the balloon gondola. If the gondola is placed correctly, JiJi will climb on board and sail up with the balloons. If the gondola is not placed correctly, JiJi returns to zero and waits for the next attempt.
ST Math has been used in the Danville Community School District in Great Prairie AEA during the 2015-2016 school year. The students are enjoying the program.