We must do more than teach math

We must domore than teach math.

It no longer feels okay to be silent. As I watch the events in Minneapolis, Louisville and Brunswick unfold, I am filled with sadness, anger, and an urgency to do more.

Dr. Robert Berry, someone I have long admired, a beloved education professor, a past president of NCTM, a Black man, recently posted:

"To my mathematics educators, We Teach More Than Mathematics. We must engage in anti-racist and trauma-informed education in our daily practices...BTW, I’m not OK."

At Woot Math, our work is focused on helping teachers ensure that all students have the math foundation they need to succeed. But Dr. Berry is right. We must do more than teach math. We must work to ensure that Black students have access not only to a safe and welcoming place to learn but also a safe and welcoming place to live.

The truth is they don’t. In our country, they never have. While we have repeatedly been shaken by the brutality captured on video, the reality is that for the Black community this is not new.

As we strive to figure out how to do more, we have begun by financially supporting the Center for Policing Equity (CPE), an organization at the forefront of addressing bias in policing. I greatly admire the work of Dr. Tracie Keesee, a remarkable leader, who is the co-founder of CPE, former Deputy of Training at NYPD, and a retired 25-year verteran of the Denver Police Department.

We also plan to read, listen, and learn from our Black colleagues, leaders, friends. We will identify ways that we can support and amplify their voice, their power. They are not alone. We stand and act in solidarity with them.

Krista Marks, CEO, Woot Math

June 3, 2020

How to Use Woot Math to Help with Final Preparation

How to Use Woot Math to Help with Final Preparation

Students are constantly struggling with study skills, especially in 9th grade as we start to think about end of year testing. It is difficult to “know where to start,” which is fair, considering there is a lot of material to cover! They are overwhelmed by the information and are still learning how to manage their time.

I was hoping to relieve some of this stress by creating personalized study plans for each student. I know, I know, a lot of you are rolling your eyes thinking, “How will I have time to do this?!” Using Woot Math and a quick worksheet, I was able to make study plans for all three sections of Algebra 1, on the spot, during a 45 minute class period. I know, it is very hard to believe.

In my Algebra 1 classroom, I start preparation by gauging students knowledge. What do my students need to know to be successful? Where are they struggling? What have they mastered? I answer all of these questions with a pre-test using Woot Math! If you want to check it out right away, click the link below. Continue reading to see how I use the poll.

My final is separated into four distinctive units: number patterns, graphing, writing equations, and systems of equations. I took five key questions from each unit and created a set of twenty questions. In class, I had all of the students work on the poll using the “self-pace” feature with automatic feedback turned on. You can see my student’s results below.


Once students have completed their poll, they sit with me and we analyze their results using the results page shown above. I quickly count how many they got correct out of the five questions per unit and calculate their scores. Then, working together with me we create their own personalized study plan. I made this very quickly using a word processor.


I have used study plans in the past and students respond very well to them, and they continually request them. Parents are thankful that their students have a plan of attack to be successful during finals. Special education teachers are grateful for the guidance, not only for the students but for themselves! This allows students to clearly understand where their skills are lacking and where they shine. Also, meeting with students one-on-one to check in before finals is a great way to instill confidence in your students.

This structure knows no limits! Whether you are teaching math, history, science, you could use this as a tool for your classroom! You can add reflective questions to the study plans to encourage students to think about their goals and not just memorize formulas.

How do you prepare your students for finals? Do you let them run free and learn study skills on their own? Or do you have an awesome game that you play? Whatever it is, we at Woot Math would love to hear about it! Good luck studying! Woot! Woot!

About Diana:
Diana Rapp is a full-time math teacher at Fairview High School. She has been a mathematics teacher for two years. Growing up, Diana struggled in mathematics. She learned quickly at a young age that she would have to work hard and productively struggle constantly in order to be successful. Along her journey as a student she was lucky enough to have incredible teachers and tutors that gave her the tools to succeed and instill confidence in herself. Diana became a teacher because she believes she can be that mentor for her struggling students. Diana has a BA in Mathematics and is currently working on her Masters in Mathematics Education Curriculum and Instruction.

Study Time – Fun with Statistics

Task #1

The activity starts with a tap-an-image problem. Students tap the outlier in the data.
Task 1: Tap the Outlier

– Task 1: Tap the Outlier –

This is a good refresher if your students are familiar with the concept of an outlier. If they aren’t, it is a good opportunity for instruction. I recommend lingering a little on the context here. Discussing what the data means primes a discussion about hard work and a growth mindset. Although the data is not real, it helps students understand what an outlier could be in a real world context.

Task #2

Task 2 is a review of different types of correlation. We thought it was a weak correlation. Since there is only one outlier, some students may argue that it is strong correlation. After your students submit a response, you can have a discussion by de-selecting the “Reveal Answer” option. Then you can view and discuss the results of the class without revealing the right answer. You can also press the “Assign Groups” button to automatically create groups for small-group discussion.

– Assign Groups Feature –

Task #3 and #4

Tasks 3 and 4 both provide an equation of a line representing best fit, and students are asked to determine a test score given study time. They also highlight an interesting feature of the short answer task type. While designing a task, you can set it to accept equivalent forms of the correct answer. Click on the gear icon to set the various equivalence options.


– Edit Equivalence Options –

For this task we turned off operations because an answer of 0.1*3+0.5 doesn’t seem like they have quite figured it out yet. If operations were on, the tool would accept 0.1*3+0.5 as a correct answer. We left fractions on because converting 0.8 to a fraction is helpful extra practice. There’s nothing wrong with that.

– Task #3: Accepted Answers –

In the answer blank you can also separate multiple correct answers with a semicolon. As long as the number comes first, the software will give you access to the equivalence tools. If you do a letter or word first, it will treat the answer as a string and let you change the number of typos allowed. The way we have the answer box setup, it will accept responses of 0.8, 80%, B- or any fractional equivalent to 0.8. This way your students will not get it wrong if they think outside the box, interpreting a grade of 0.8 as a B-.

Get started by previewing the poll right now with the link below. Or, login to wootmath.com and search for Study Time in the Shared Gallery.

Visit our page on formative assessment for more strategies on implementing ideas like this in your classroom.

Weekly Math Poll – Systems of Inequality

Task #1
The context of the problem is a business that makes hats, both by machine and by hand. In the first problem, students need to model an inequality between their budget, $2000, and the cost of making each type of hat. Often students don’t know where to start with word problems, so this task provides some supports in the scratchpad. If you think your students don’t need the extra support, feel free to remove it by clicking on scratchpad settings after you have copied the task into your account.

Student view of task with scratchpad

Task #2
The next problem is another opportunity for them to model an inequality from a word problem. Some students may be able to intuitively see that if over 50% are made by hand then y>x. Others will need some help, so the scratchpad has some steps to get them working. When reviewing the problem with the class, you can always use this pre-saved bookmark called “Great Work!” (Note: you can access bookmarks by clicking on the “Bookmarks” tab when viewing results.)

Task #2 with steps illustrated on the scratchpad

Notice how the scratchpad helped the student get started with writing down what they know, then putting it together to solve the problem. If students write the final answer as y/(y+x)>0.5 (or any variation of it) they will get it right, make sure you go over that this is the same as y>x before the next problem.

Task #3
This is a great example of how you can spice up a multiple choice question. There is a pre-made graph and a blank table on the scratchpad to help them connect different representations of y>x.

Scratchpad with different representations of y>x

Task #4
This problem has the inequality from task 3 on the scratchpad. The major advantage of this is even if your students got it wrong in task 3, they won’t be building off a mistake moving forward. If you are running a teacher led poll, they won’t be able to look ahead. This task is harder than the last one, remember to remind them to use a table or plot some points. If you want, you can always add hints on the scratchpad by going to “Scratchpad Setting” when editing the task.

Scratchpad with inequality from previous task on the scratchpad

The final problem gives them practice with testing points in a system of inequalities while remembering the parameters of the original problem. Students are given a graph of the system of inequalities to help them draw connections between different representations. Remind them as they work that they can draw on the graph (using the scratchpad) to plot points and see which of the shaded regions they are in.

Get started by previewing the poll right now, or login to wootmath.com and search for Systems of Inequality in the Shared Gallery.

Visit the page on Formative Assessment for more information on implementing these strategies in your classroom.