Tag Archives: creativity

Who Says Students Can’t Use Math in Humanities Courses?


New Math provides students with the opportunity to develop their own definitions of words and concepts using only mathematical equations.

New Math was the brainchild of Craig Damrauer, an artist who developed a simple idea:  Capture everyday concepts and ideas solely through the language of mathematical equations.

Damrauer started the New Math project for a solo art show in New York in 2002.  Since that time, these equations have been released as a book and as postcards.

Damrauer’s New Math is a creative approach that educators can utilize to allow students the opportunity to create their own definitions, visuals, and restatements in their own words based on their analysis and synthesis of definitions, connotations, and denotations of the word.  To create an effective equation, students will undoubtedly demonstrate depth of understanding.

New Math aligns with Marzano’s six-step process for teaching vocabulary to support students who lack sufficient background to achieve in school.


These steps include:

1.  The teacher explains a new word — going beyond reciting its definition.

2.  Students restate or explain the new word in their own words.

3.  Students create a nonlinguistic representation of the word.

4.  Students engage in activities to deepen their knowledge of the new word.

5.  Students discuss the new word.

6.  Students play games to review new vocabulary.

How can you use New Math with your students?




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Are Infographics the new PowerPoint for 21st Century Learners?

I am mesmerized by infographics.  I not only find the information, data, statistics, and messages fascinating, but I also see how they appeal to the brain of the 21st century learner.  We are inundated with information, bombarded by snippets, soundbites, text messages, and little bytes of information that we process effortlessly.  To demonstrate this fact, as I am typing this post, I am listening to a podcast, watching a football game, checking my Facebook, and texting on Skype.  We function now in pieces, not in the whole.

When our students look for information, chances are, they will not be drawn to a thirteen page article or four chapters in a textbook, but they will look for something they can view and something with which they can interact.  Let’s face it… Infographics are interesting!  They suck us in.   They provide fodder for GREAT discussions, and they lead us to search for more information because they pique our interest.  Infographics are the hook we need for our 21st century classrooms.  How could this work, you ask?

What are Infographics? 

Infographics are a way to make sense of data and the story behind the data by using a visual representation of given information.   The study of these visual representations helps us uncover trends in large data sets in some instances.  Infographics also take smaller data sets and makes them visible, interesting, and easily accessible to a wide audience.  Often, the mode of display is directly related to the context of the intended message.

Take this infographic for example… (Click the infographic.)

This graphic provides a visual representation of the Left and Right Wings of Government.  Think about how a Civics teacher could use this infographic.  The possibilities are endless.   And this is just one example.

Challenging Students to Think Beyond the PowerPoint

Media Literacy is a cornerstone of 21st century learning as well as preparing students to be college and career ready.  What better way for students to demonstrate their understanding of a topic than to create an infographic?  Because infographics communicate the author’s data and understanding, creating an infographic encourages creativity, analysis and evaluation of information, and a deep understanding of how to interpret data to deliver a message.   As we embrace Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy and provide students with more opportunities to think critically and draw conclusions, infographics may serve multiple purposes in our classrooms.

Check out my Delicious stack of infographic information:  Things to Make you Think to see more examples of infographics as well several really powerful examples.



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