100% FREE TO USE

# Usable Math

# (Formerly 4mality)

Online Math Problem-Solving for Young Learners

Usable Math provides interactive problem solving practice for 3rd through 6th grade students who are learning mathematical reasoning and computation through word problems.

## Math Friends

Featuring four coaches Estella Explainer, Chef Math Bear, How-to Hound, and Visual Vicuna who offer reading, computation, strategy, and visual strategies for solving math problems.

Estella Explainer

*"I help children understand the language and meaning of questions using kid-friendly vocabulary."*

Chef Math Bear

*"I provide computational strategies (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) for solving problems."*

How-to-Hound

"*I present strategic thinking clues (rounding, estimation, elimination of wrong answers).*"

Visual Vicuna

"*I offer ways to see problems and their solutions using animations, pictures, charts and graphs.*"

The coaches annotate hints and provide feedback to help students with various levels of knowledge solve mathematical word problems using a wide range of strategies.

## Math Standards Based

Usable Math aims to teach mathematics concepts and problem solving skills based on the Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

## Open Education Resource

Usable Math is an open education resource project developed in the College of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst. An initial version called 4mality was developed with funding support from the Verizon Foundation and a grant from the US Department of Education, Institute of Education (IES).

## BROWSE MATH MODULES

## More coming soon!

## HOW TO USE

## Welcome to Usable Math. In this interactive website, you will find **Learning Modules** designed to develop mathematical problem solving skills among young learners in grades 3 to 7.

## Our Modules explore standards-based math concepts including Fractions, Measurement, Geometry, Decimals, Money, and more. Usable Math is **free to access** using a computer, smartphone, or iPad.

## What do we mean by Usable Math?

## The word Usable can read as follows:

**U Able**meaning you can do math problem solving.**Us Able**meaning together all of us can do math problem solving.**Usable**meaning anyone is able to learn math problem solving - with practice, effort, and support.

## What are the Usable Math Learning Modules?

## Each learning module in Usable Math consists of a group of math word problems related to a specific mathematical concept. The problems are based on the Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework↗ as well as Common Core Standards↗.

## Each problem within a module consists of a question, three to four possible answer choices, and problem solving ideas and strategies provided by our four coaches: Estella Explainer, Chef Math Bear, How-to-Hound, and Visual Vicuna.

## How are the Modules Displayed online?

## Each module has been developed using Google Slides.

## Click. Pause. Solve.

## View each module in Slideshow.

## How do teachers, students and families use each module?

## Every module on Usable Math is **user friendly**.Clicking on a module from the selections on the Modules Homepage, each user controls what happens during the learning experience by clicking to open strategies and spending time thinking about them before answering the question. The goal is for students, by themselves, in small groups, or with a teacher, or a family member, to analyze and understand what the problem is asking them to solve before providing an answer.

A question appears without its answer choices or any problem solving strategies.

Click one time and Estella offers a problem solving strategy.

Click again and the Bear offers a different strategy.

Click again and the Hound presents a strategy.

Click again and the Vicuna has an additional strategy approach.

The next click gives the four answer choices, but not yet the correct answer.

The final click highlights the correct answer from among the answer choices.

## Before going to the next problem, a motivational statement and gif appears offering encouragement to the users.

## What is the purpose of the Motivational Statements between Problems?

## Each motivational statement is intended to provide feedback and encouragement to students using the system.Following the insights of researchers into the use of praise and the development of growth mindsets in young learners, these motivational statements are designed to reward students’ effort, hard work, persistence, and belief in one’s self as a learner. We want youngsters to realize that they can learn anything with the right tools, the right beliefs, the right coaches, and their own work and practice.

## Need more help? Or have a question?

## Reach out to us and we will do our best to get back to you within 12 hours.

## MEET THE TEAM

Sharon **Edwards**

Department of Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies

College of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Sharon (she/her) is a clinical faculty in the Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies in the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Sharon is the big brains behind the development of Usable Math online math tutor.

Robert W. **Maloy**

Department of Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies

College of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Bob (he/him) is a history and math senior lecturer in the Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies in the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Bob and Sharon co-created 4mality, which is the earlier version of Usable Math.

Sai **Gattupalli**

Department of Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies

College of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Sai (he/him) is a learning sciences doctoral student in the College of Education at UMass Amherst. He is a co-founder of Usable Math. Sai is a researcher at the Advanced Learning Technologies Lab ↗, where many learning platforms such as Usable Math are developed.For research inquiries, contact `sgattupalli at umass dot edu`

.

Sara **Shea**

Department of Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies

College of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Sara Shea (she/her) is a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is currently part of the university’s Collaborative Teacher Education Pathway program, working towards earning her master’s degree in elementary education.

Katie **Allan**

Department of Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies

College of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Katie Allan (she/her) is a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is a math major with a concentration in education and passionate about math education.

## SUGGESTIONS AND FEEDBACK

## We welcome ideas from teachers, students, and families about the Usable Math system.

## Your responses will help us to improve how the system works instructionally and technically. Let us know your thoughts about the problems, characters, hints, gifs, mindset statements and more.

Puffy the math robot says: "Your feedback is powerful. Your input helps us make important decisions in how we present math problems to children."

## Thank you.

Your message has been received. We will get back to you shortly. The average response time is approximately 6 hours.