October 2, 2023
Tools and Resources

# BuzzMath – Differentiated Learning For All Students

BuzzMath helps children practice subtraction, addition, multiplication, division, greater than / smaller than and other mathematical problems. All the numbers, operators and equations are written on thick, colourful, flying-bees.

Ideal for group activities at home or school, the game helps children boost their knowledge, improve their problem solving skills while enhancing their interpersonal skills through social play.

## What is BuzzMath?

BuzzMath is an online program, which is also available as a free iPad app, that helps students learn and practice math concepts which support the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and Common Core standards. It offers the users various practices that focus on key concepts and skills needed to master the standards.

## Application in education

The teacher can use BuzzMath as a support tool for math classes. Students solve thousands of math problems in a fun and interactive way to help them improve their math skills. The platform allows the teacher to follow the individual progress of their students through detailed reports, this allows them to detect concepts and topics where students have greater difficulty and thus be able to support them in their learning.

## Functionalities

• Provides interactive math problems according to the age of the student
• Provides reports to the teacher
• Show mistakes to students for improvement
• Allows the student to choose different categories
• It allows you to visualize your progress in real time.

• It’s a fun way to learn
• Allows you to understand your activity errors
• Online
• Intuituve

In addition to the activities, BuzzMath also offers helpful hints and tips on how best to approach difficult problems. It even has a built-in calculator so kids can check their answers before moving on to the next level. This feature helps them develop problem-solving skills without feeling overwhelmed or discouraged by mistakes.

## Instructions for play

If playing in a group, it is generally easier if children sit or stand in a circle.

### As a counting game

Choose a number of the day, say 8. One child begins and counts aloud ‘One,’ then the next child says, ‘Two,’ the next child ‘Three,’ play continues around the circle with the children saying the next number in line as quickly as possible until the chosen number, in this case 8, is reached. Instead of saying the number aloud the child due to count says, “Buzz.” The next person starts at one again and play continues as before, the aim being to count in sequence, follow the play around the group and speak as quickly as possible without making a mistake. So in this example, play would go – 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,buzz! 1,2,etc

### As a multiplication game

As a variation for older children, tell the children that the aim of the game is to count to 50 – simple, right? Except all multiples of the chosen number must be replaced by the word ‘Buzz.’ For example, if the buzz number was multiples of 5, play would go – 1,2,3,4,buzz,6,7,8,9,buzz,11,12…etc. If a child makes a mistake play begins (for the whole group) again at 1.

## Benefits of Using BuzzMath

The most important benefit is that students have the chance to practice math in a fun and engaging way. The Johns Hopkins University study (2015) showed that the program helped the students understand the material while it allowed students to “learn in the way that I do best.”

Teachers can assign specific activities to individuals in order to meet the needs of each learner. Teachers can track assignments on their device or online to collect participation and accuracy data. The program has many problems that require higher-order thinking skills to find the solution.

## Safe and Ethical Use of BuzzMath

Students have individual access to the password protected program and are able to work through the various activities at their own pace without other students knowing their progress.

The program does not contain advertisements and only the teacher can see the students’ activities and scores.

Students can only receive messages from the teacher or the program application itself at the present time. The company may upgrade this to allow students to communicate with one another.

## Limitations

The BuzzMath app is not available for Android tablets, Kindle, Nook, or any mobile phone at the present time. The app does not include videos or how-to instructions for students to “learn” the math like some other websites.

Parents must create their own account with their child (for a fee) to see their child’s progress unless they have their child sign-in to see his or her progress.

## Cost of the Technology

The basic program and app are both free for students. There are some parts of the app/website that are only included in the Premium Classroom, like:

• A detailed solution to the problems.
• Challenge missions for students which increases engagement and competitiveness.

A basic license (which includes unlimited student logins) for teachers is also free, but to be able to obtain detailed reporting (which tracks the student progress), the Premium Classroom needs to be purchased.

The cost of a 30 user license is \$150 for an entire year. The company will provide a quote for teachers or schools needing more than 30 users. Since BuzzMath is web-based, students can use the computers at school or at home to access the program.

McClure currently has several computer labs that the teachers can use as well as a few computers in each classroom. Since the program is also available as an iPad app, the students can check out the iPad minis in the media center or the teacher can check out the iPad cart on practice days.

## How Could BuzzMath be Used to Differentiate Instruction?

Teachers can assign practices based on the student’s needs. Students who master the content of a specific area can move ahead and receive challenging problems or go on to the next section or grade level. Students who need remediation can be assigned sections that will address the weaknesses by:

• Practicing the skills and knowledge base (from a previous grade) that is needed for the new math content.
• Allow them to see how the problems should be solved if they answer the problem incorrectly.
• Students can click on the read-to option for those who are ELL, below- grade level readers, or have the read-to accommodation in their IEP.
• The screen font can be increased as needed for the visually impaired.
• Teachers can assign practices based on the student’s needs.

## How Could BuzzMath Promote Communication?

This technology does not allow students to communicate with one another through the program itself, but it does allow the teacher to communicate to the students either individually or as a group.

To help promote peer-to-peer communication, the teacher can place students in pairs to work on different skills/concepts, with each student being assigned an activity that is a weakness for them, but a strength for the other.

For any problems that are incorrect, the partner can look at the work and help identify where the error was made. This would allow the students to help one another while promoting communication and error analysis skills.