February 13, 2013
Expert Corner: Linking Reflex and Gizmos
Dan Moriarty is a curriculum writer and editor for ExploreLearning, and our chief "demo movie" maker for Gizmos and Reflex. He holds a Master's degree from the University of Virginia in secondary math education, and he taught high school math before joining ExploreLearning.
A question we are getting asked more and more frequently is, “My students love Reflex. What do you recommend for them now that they are showing good progress towards fact fluency?”
Current research shows that fact fluency is critical as students move into higher levels of mathematics. The literature is equally clear on the importance of developing a strong conceptual understanding of mathematics. ExploreLearning’s flagship product, Gizmos, is designed to support exactly that. Gizmos help students truly understand key math (and science) concepts while honing their higher-order thinking skills. Students can use both Reflex and Gizmos during their elementary years, and they can continue with Gizmos throughout their secondary education.
Gizmos are flexible for use in different teaching and learning scenarios including whole class instruction, small groups, individually, or for home assignments. You could choose to use Gizmos with a projector and screen with your entire class, and let students use Gizmos on some computers and Reflex on others.
There are over 450 Gizmos that can easily be found with our Browse facility. You can find Gizmos aligned to your state standards and the new Common Core standards, as well as over 300 leading textbooks.
For any Gizmo, be sure you and your students use the associated Lesson Materials or Exploration Guide. The Student Exploration Sheet walks students through an inquiry-based lesson using the Gizmo (and the Word document version can be edited by the teacher, if you like). The Teacher Guide contains suggestions for how to incorporate the Gizmo into a larger lesson, and provides more in-depth information on the topic.
Here are some Gizmos you may want to consider for your students working with Reflex:
Adding and subtracting
Adding and Subtracting Integers Gizmo – adding and subtracting on a number line.
Number Line Frog Hop Gizmo – adding and subtracting by tens and ones, with a frog on a number line.
Multiplication and division
Critter Count Gizmo – multiplication as repeated addition.
Chocomatic Gizmo – multiplication as a rectangular array, in the context of building chocolate bars.
No Alien Left Behind Gizmo – division and remainders in the context of putting classes of aliens on school buses.
Modeling Fractions Gizmo – fractions strips used to explore the meaning of numerator and denominator
Equivalent Fractions Gizmo – compare fractions using a fraction-tile-making machine
Fraction Artist 1 Gizmo – create modern “paintings” in the style of Piet Mondrian, and describe them with fractions. (There are actually 2 Fraction Artist Gizmos. The lesson in the second one is slightly more advanced than in the first.)
Fractions, decimals, and percents
Modeling Decimals Gizmo – model and compare decimals with area (grid) models.
Fraction, Decimal, Percent Gizmo – compare fractions, decimals, and percents with area (grid) models.
Function Machines 1 Gizmo – cartoony “input-output” machines are a nice entry point into functional thinking. (There are actually 3 Function Machines Gizmos with gradually more advanced lessons.)
We’re glad to see how popular Reflex is becoming, and we hope this helps connect Reflex a bit better with Gizmos! Take a free Gizmos trial and see how Gizmos can help continue your students’ passion for mathematics.