Interactive Whiteboards in Australia

News, ideas and discussion about interactive whiteboards in education

Posts Tagged ‘maths’

IWB Maths, English, Science, SOSE and IT for K-3

Posted by rosiemacalpine on March 2, 2010

Until recently, iboard software produced high quality, engaging software for any brand of interactive whiteboard for paid subscribers. Now TES (Times Educational Supplement, an UK education newspaper and website) have bought the activities and made them available FREE, without signup, for anyone!

These are really lovely activities which are well organised and cover a wide range of topics. For example there are 93 numeracy activities for Year 1 alone with titles such as ‘Adding Two Dice’, ‘Comparing Jungle Animals (Height)’, and ‘Months of the Year’.

The activities are split into Reception, Year One and Year Two so you should find suitable activities for K-3 in Australian schools.

Click here to visit the iboard site. Thanks to The Whiteboard Blog.



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5 interesting things that you can with Shapes in ActivInspire

Posted by rosiemacalpine on November 19, 2009

The new version of ActivInspire offers lots more choices for using shapes and lines in your teaching. Here are five ways that you may not have thought of before (n.b. some of these tools are available with other IWB software, some are unique to ActivInspire).

1. Making irregular shapes with the Line-Chain shape 


When you use the Line-Chain shape, each click of the pen adds another angle to the shape. Ask students to draw an irregular pentagon, octagon etc, or set challenges ‘Draw an irregular pentagon with one angle of 45 degrees’.


2. Use the rectangle tool to create a Mondrian style painting


The rectangle tool can be dragged to any size or shape. Either change the fill of each shape to red,yellow or blue before you draw, or draw all the shapes in white. Then use the paint bucket to fill in different colours.


3. Matching shapes and outlines

image When you choose a fill for your shape, try using the ‘no fill’ option. This allows you to draw a shape without any fill colour. Then, use the paint bucket tool to fill your shape. When you move the shape, you will find that the outline and the fill move separately. You can then drag the fills and outlines to different areas of the page and ask students to match them.


4. Colour blending using transparent shapes

image Draw any shape and fill a primary colour. You may prefer to delete the border (see previous example) or use a very thin one.

Click on the centre of the shape. On the Object Edit toolbar that appears above the shape, click on the sun icon. Drag it to the left until the shape is semi-transparent. Now duplicate the shape and make them several different colours. Overlap the shapes to see the new colours that appear.


5. Sticky shapes for brainstorming and charts

image Draw three shapes at the bottom of your page. Select them and add ‘Drag a copy’. While the shapes are still selected, go to the Properties Browser and open the Container section. Change the first drop down menu to Can Contain: Anything.

Now you can drag infinite number of shapes onto your page and write on them. The writing will stick to the shape so you can move it around without losing the writing.


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Making interactive 3D prisms in ActivInspire

Posted by rosiemacalpine on April 13, 2009


This idea was suggested by some maths teachers at a local high school. I was intrigued by the connectors (lines which ‘glue’ shapes together) in ActivInspire, but hadn’t quite worked out what to do with them! I think this was a really clever and useful idea.

Click the video below to see how you can use the shapes. Remember that a personal edition of ActivInspire can be downloaded from Promethean Planet and can be used by any teacher, regardless of the type of board you use.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If you want to see an ActivInspire flipchart with these shapes, click on the link below to download the flipchart. You will need to install the ActivInspire software (if you haven’t already done so) before you can view the flipchart.

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Great websites for exploring 3D shapes

Posted by rosiemacalpine on February 20, 2009

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Recently I posted on Google Sketchup, and how this program could be used to explore the properties of 3D shapes with primary or secondary students. Today’s post focuses on websites that work well on an IWB and provide an introduction to 3D shapes for primary students. They are listed in order of difficulty for students, starting with easy.

1. Buried 3D shapes

This one has been around for a while but is still extremely popular. It features half buried or obscured shapes which need to be matched with their name. By clicking on the name, students can also listen to the correct pronunciation of the word. And the images used are unusual and intriguing – a nice change from the usual primary colour scheme.


2. 3D shapes

This flash resource from Birmingham Learning Grid is the best one I’ve seen for the concept. It starts with an comparison of 1, 2 and 3D (which increased my understanding of the concept too!) and then provides 11 different 3D shapes that you can take a closer look at – not just the usual 4 or 5 shapes. When you click on each shape, you get a written description of the shape, the net and a 3D model that you can rotate to view.

image image

3. Mathsnet interactive geometry

There’s two activities on this site that I find particularly useful with teaching 3D shapes. Both of the them look at different ways of viewing 3D models (particularly those constructed from cubes). In both activities, you can grab the pen shape with your finger or pen, and rotate it until it matches the silhouette view shown on the right hand side. The website itself is not very clear to use, but these activities are very good.



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Recording your work on the IWB with Jing

Posted by rosiemacalpine on February 11, 2009

Jing is a free piece of screen casting software. A screencast is a video which records everything you do on your computer + your voice. The embedded video below is an example of a screencast which I made showing how to make a jigsaw in Activsoftware.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If you use Promethean Activsoftware or SMART notebook, you might have used the recording tools in the software to make your own screencasts. Jing has a similar function. The big advantage of Jing is that your screencast is automatically uploaded to the internet (at a site called and the link of the video copied on to your clipboard. You can make a screencast, paste the link into an email to students or add to the school’s portal, and students can watch your video at home.

You can also use Jing for student assessment. Students can record their work at the interactive whiteboard and narrate their activities, then upload them to the website where you can review them later (HINT: get each student to start their assessment by speaking or writing their name on the board!) This can provide really valuable feedback about their understanding of a concept. Here are five ideas of how to use recording in different subject areas:

1. Science. Draw 3 containers and label them solids, liquids and gases. Students fill the containers with dots to show the difference in distribution and how the particles can move.

image 2. SOSE (social studies, geography). Provide a page with oceans and clouds. Ask students to add arrows and pictures if necessary to show the five things that a hurricane needs.

3. Primary numeracy. Provide pictures for students to tell a number story to illustrate a concept. This can be used for addition, division, fractions, negative numbers etc.


4. Secondary maths. Students record how they can rearrange an equation or complete a maths problem, explaining their reasoning of each step (e.g. ‘when I put the five on the other side of the equals sign, it becomes a negative number’).

5. ICT / computing. Jing will record any thing that happens on your computer. Students can demonstrate how they would complete a task in any piece of software or within the OS.

This is a really valuable assessment tool. If necessary, you can watch these videos back with the student to explain any errors. You can pause the video at the right spot (‘you see where you took the five to the other side of the equation? What did you need to change there?’) These videos can be watched by anyone with an internet connection, so the web link of the video can also be sent to parents for review.

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Exploring 3D shapes on an IWB using Google SketchUp

Posted by rosiemacalpine on January 30, 2009

In a recent post on Promethean Planet forums, Mark Robinson suggested using Google SketchUp to create 3D shapes with a class. That prompted me to have a look at the program. I was initially worried that it would be too technical, but the good news is that it is very easy to start looking at shapes on the board. Here’s a quick video showing how to use it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “2009-02-17_1055“, posted with vodpod

Step 1: Download and install.

It’s about 40mb and can be downloaded here

Step 1b (optional): Watch this 3 minute video on how to get started in SketchUp.

Step 2. Open the program


I clicked Choose template, then choose the second simple template, then clicked the button at the bottom (Start using SketchUp)

3. Start drawing!

Click on a square or circle to add shapes to the page. Then use these tools to explore.

image Click on this tool, then click on your flat square or circle, and drag. You’ve turned a flat shape into a 3D shape!

image Click here then drag over your picture to view your shapes from any viewpoint.

image Use the zoom tool to zoom and out.

It’s a powerful program but I really liked that it’s simple enough to get started straight away. I would love to leave this on the board for a group of students, leave them to explore and see what they discover!

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Using virtual manipulatives on your whiteboard

Posted by rosiemacalpine on December 5, 2008

The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives is a project of Utah State University. They provide free access to virtual versions of common maths manipulatives like MABs, fraction bars, geoboards and pattern blocks (to name just a few). The resources are well organised into strand and grade level.

There is also an option to buy a desktop version for those teachers who struggle with reliable internet access at school.

I really enjoy using these sort of resources because it enriches the hands on materials we already have, rather than replacing them.

The teacher can demonstrate the manipulatives at the board on a large scale (much easier than juggling MABs on your lap!)

Then children can take it in turns to work at the board in small groups, while the rest of the class use the physical manipulatives to work on the same tasks. Children can also showcase their work or findings to the whole class by replicating it on the board.

The screenshot below shows the geoboard manipulative. Each manipulative also has a few suggested activities for teachers.


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