George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Aligning instruction to meet the Common Core State Standards is the new norm for educators across most of the United States. In the middle school math classroom, technology can be used to help students reach mastery of these Common Core skills. Let's take a look at a sixth grade geometry standard and how, using technology, teachers can promote engagement through student-centered exploration of this skill.


Draw polygons in the coordinate plane given coordinates for the vertices; use coordinates to find the length of a side joining points with the same first coordinate or the same second coordinate. Apply these techniques in the context of solving real-world and mathematical problems.

Using Technology to Instruct

When it comes to hooking students and grabbing their attention at the beginning of a lesson, video tutorials can be powerful. Instead of giving a lecture to teach new material, the instructor can field questions and facilitate a discussion after students watch a concise tutorial on a particular topic.

Khan Academy is one fantastic resource to find free, high-quality video tutorials on a variety of subject areas. To reach this particular standard, Khan Academy has a section devoted to Perimeter, Area and Volume that can support students at different entry points.

Area and Perimeter: Area of rectangles and triangles. Perimeter of rectangles.


Using an interactive whiteboard is another way teachers can integrate technology into their lesson. This type of tool is perfect for modeling how to plot points on a coordinate grid to create a shape. In Notebook on the SMARTBoard for example, teachers can change their background to graph paper to create coordinate planes with a quick search in the gallery section.

Using Technology to Explore

If you're using an interactive whiteboard to model drawing polygons on a coordinate grid to determine the length of each side, try having individual students come to the front of the room to draw out problems for the class. When students are working at tables or with partners to solve problems, have a small group work on the interactive whiteboard as opposed to their desks. There are apps available from the iTunes Store that help students draw on a coordinate grid. This is great for teachers who have access to iPads in a one-to-one environment, who want to create stations with just a few iPads, or who can assign a group of four or five students to a single iPad. Geometry Pad is a fantastic, free iPad app that students can use to draw polygons on a coordinate plane. They can even explain their work in writing by adding text to screen.

Using Technology to Assess

Solving real-world problems is an important aspect of Common Core math. What better way for students to demonstrate their understanding than through the creation of the same type of tutorials you showed your class to kick off the lesson? Here are some ideas:

  • Students can create screencasts using a free iPad app like Educreations, ScreenChomp or Doceri, or they can record their explanation in groups using a digital camera or computer webcam.
  • Have students record their work going through the steps of a problem you've designed for them.
  • Have students design their own real-world problems related to polygons and coordinate planes to demonstrate their understanding of this skill.

If you’re working with English-Language Learners or special education students, these tools can give them an opportunity to shine and gain confidence through an alternative to traditional assessments.

What activities do you use to integrate technology into your Common Core instruction?

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Common Core in Action Series

Comments (6) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Jennifer W.'s picture

Thanks for the post! You're listed several resources that I haven't heard before.

In response to your question about integrating Common Core into classrooms, I have another resource to propose: mathbreakers. It's a 3D math adventure game where students can play pre-build levels and apply specific math concepts learned in the classroom - or - work individually or in a group to build their own levels. We're close to our release, our trailer can be found at - I'd love to hear your feedback!

Todd Finley's picture
Todd Finley
Blogger and Assistant Editor (Contractor)

Wow Monica! You really got this Common Core In Action series off to a great start! Terrific post.

GaryJohnston1's picture
Grade 6 and 7 Science Teacher

The ipads are definitely great at accessing students ability to demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways. One app that I like is "explain everything". Here is one video below:

Google drawings are a great tool for group or cooperative presentations. Students can import a coordinate grid and work on it together. I think the bonus of digital media is that it ends up being a resource for other students after it has been assessed. However, it's important that a teacher oversees their work so the information is not laden with mistakes so that it misinforms their peers.

Cheryl Boucher's picture
Cheryl Boucher
High school teacher

Integrating technology with studies is a great way to teach kids. Recently, many school and learning center are adapting new methods and technology to teach kids in more interactive way. One such learning center is C2 McLean Education that always uses new technology to tutor their students. For more information on C2 Education you can visit

Jennifer's picture

I really appreciate the great ideas for incorporating technology in math. I have a class set of iPads for my students and used the Geometry Pad app and they LOVED it! They were asking to do more problems. It is amazing how graphing an equation on an iPad versus graph paper can make it fun. I also am looking into and doing more research on the ideas you put for using technology to assess. Any ways I can use technology to adapt the common core standards in action as you state I am all for. Thanks again for this wonderful information.

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