Criteria: Each category will be ranked on a scale from 1 to 5.
Applicability: Can I use this website to help me with my classes?
Ease of use: Is the website easy to navigate?
Credibility: Is the website’s content from a reliable source?
Quality of material: Is the website’s content something I would want to use?
When typing “teachers” into Google, the first suggestion is “teachers pay teachers.” If one searches the term, this site is the first result.
The website is a resource for teachers to share lessons and materials that have been successful in their classes, either for free or for pay.
Applicability: 5. There are materials for every of ever subject, including AP Calculus and Statistics.
Ease of use: 4. The navigation is fairly clear, and search function is functional.
Credibility: 4. Materials are rated by other teachers, so if something has been used often and with success, it is likely to be a good lesson.
Quality of material: 4. Quality varies, but some of it is amazing and free.
I would use it to find lessons, worksheets, and ideas for my classes.
- AP Calculus Planning and Pacing Guide
Found by typing “AP Calculus pacing” into Google. The first result has expired, but this is both the 4th and 5th result.
The PDF file suggests how many hours should be spent teaching each topic, in what order, and with which sample examples.
Applicability: 5. This is exactly the class that I teach, and the AB pacing guide uses the same textbook I do.
Ease of use: 4. It is one PDF file, so one can’t jump around with links, but the layout is clear.
Credibility: 4. The PDF is found on the website of the College Board, the organization in charge of the AP Calculus program itself, so I can reasonably expect it to be vetted.
Quality of material: 4. I’m planning to use at least the AB pacing as a guideline next year. I’ve sent it in an e-mail to myself to be delivered in June.
I would use it to plan my AB class next year.
This time, instead of searching Google, I searched Reddit, a hugely popular link aggregator website.
The first of the links showcases beautiful, informative, clever, or well-done graphs. These would be good to show a Statistics class for interest and inspiration. The second contains graphs that are misleading, incorrect, silly, or visually unappealing.
Applicability: 4. Displaying data in a clear and pleasing way is an important part of the study of Statistics.
Ease of use: 5. I’m very familiar with reddit’s layout, so I know how to sort by the top posts of all time, how to find new links, and how to read people’s comments on the links..
Credibility: 4. Generally, high-quality links are “upvoted” to the front while low-quality posts are “downvoted to oblivion,” as users of the site like to say. The users doing the voting are generally intelligent, and even more so as a group than individually. They also explain their reasoning.
Quality of material: 4. While quality varies from post to post, one can usually expect the most highly-voted posts to be useful and relevant.
These are valuable for Statistics students to critique so that they don’t make similar mistakes, and also for entertainment.
- Symbolab Calculus Calculator
Just testing out search terms, I tried typing “Calculus Calculator” into Google. It went far better than expected.
This website website not only calculates derivatives, integrals, limits, series, and applications, but also shows the steps to get there! I only hope my students aren’t already using it for their homework!
Applicability: 5. Anything my students need to calculate, this calculator can do.
Ease of use: 5. Almost too easy.
Credibility: 5. The robot is performing the calculations. Any error is on my part.
Quality of material: 4. While it performs its function perfectly, I am deducting a point for taking a bit of the thinking out of Calculus.
This website is not without value—students still need to figure out what questions to ask—but overall, I’m disinclined to mention its existence to my class.
- 5th Grade Enrichment Math
Got this one from Googling the rough name of a class I teach, “advanced 5th grade math.”
The website mostly appears to collect useful links in various categories.
Applicability: 3. My advanced 5th graders are mostly working on material they’ll need to skip 6th grade math.
Ease of use: 2. The site is not particularly well-organized, with non-sequential categories, a random assortment of links, and aborted attempts at due dates.
Credibility: 3. While the list of links appears to have been somewhat haphazardly created, the links themselves vary in reliability. I’m sure some of them are good.
Quality of material: 2. I did not click on all of the links, but from what I’ve seen nothing caught my eye especially.
I will not be using this in my classroom.
- Interactive mathematics
I found this by Googling “Calculus game,” which brought me to a game of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” based on Calculus questions. I won a million dollars, which is good, because I wouldn’t be able to show my face in class if I hadn’t.
The website contains summaries of concepts in many different areas of math, from “Money Math” to university-level Calculus, although I have not found as much interactivity as the name would seem to imply.
Applicability: 5. It covers all the main subjects from my AP Calculus class.
Ease of use: 5. Navigability is easy, and the few interactive sections I have found are fairly straightforward.
Credibility: 4. While few sources are cited, the content only covers basic mathematical concepts that are obviously true if one knows the material, which I do.
Quality of material: 3. It’s a good ultra-condensed version of the material, but not enough for many uses other than a brief review.
I very well might ask my students to play the Millionaire game. The high score table allows me to see not just who won the game, but also how fast they did it.
- Stat Games
This one, I found by Googling “Statistics game.” There were quite a few results that were obviously for small children, but this website’s first game regarded a hypergeometric distribution, which I’ve never even taught but now feel that I understand better.
It contains three games, each requiring at least a high-school knowledge of statistics.
Applicability: 3. There
are only games for very specific concepts, and not exactly the elements of them I’d have first thought of.
Ease of use: 2. The games look like they’re from the early 2000’s, and contain long unskippable animations between playable parts.
Credibility: 3. The concepts are fine, but the execution is a bit shoddy. As an example, the fortuneteller told me that “the probability of finding a match is 0.02ENaN%.” NaN stands or Not a Number, and is found in computer programs when there has been an error executing code.
Quality of material: 2. The games are dated and the interface is irritating.
I might use the fishing game if I ever teach hypergeometric distributions, and may use the baseball game for binomial distributions, but the kids will probably not be too impressed. To be fair, the site appears to have been made by college students, and they did a relatively good job, but I don’t think I’d use them as class materials.
- Math Goodies
I tried Googling “how to make math fun high school,” and it brought me to an article on manipulatives in high school math from Math Goodies. I was pleased to see this since I’ve used Math Goodies in my class both for worksheets and for interactive student work on iPads.
The website has several “instructional units” on various math topics ranging from “Introduction to Fractions” to “Symbolic Logic.”
Applicability: 3. While I have found useful materials here, the level is mostly below that of the students I teach.
Ease of use: 3. The site is fairly easy to navigate, although some materials are behind a paywall.
Credibility: 4. The materials themselves are self-explanatory, and the articles seem well-sourced.
Quality of material: 4. I have used them in class, and it went well.
I’ve used the site before for content, and now I know it also contains research articles for my own professional development.