Saturday, June 13, 2015

Distance Rate Time Solver by Center for Algebraic Thinking.


As you know from previous entries, Center for Algebraic Thinking has produced many apps that can be used in the classroom.  Recently, I found Distance Rate Time Solver which helps students solve these types of problems.

This app has two problem modes and two explore modes.  The problem modes are for solving word problems given by the app while the explore mode is to help solve problems you choose.

First if you look at the problem mode for objects traveling towards each other,  you are given a word problem which you read and then type in the information for each object with speed, delay and distance.  It covers problems like two trains leave Boston and NYC at 80mph and 60mph, when will they meet and how far did each travel before meeting.

After animating the two objects and seeing what happens, you then put your answers in to see if you are right.  If your answer is correct, the answers will be in green, if not they are red.  You can ask for it to display the answer if you are not sure what it should be. 

The practice with the outside forces cover problems like your boat is traveling 10mph and the water is going 5mph, how long will it take to go 50 miles.  Again you input the information and try to figure out the answer.  If you need to you can animate the situation.

The last two sections (the exploration) allows you to do the same type of problems such as those found in the text book. The steps are the same as in the problem mode.

All four modes work very well as long as you realize this is a solver.  I would love to see this app provide explanations  to the student on how the answer was found in the problem mode because the app is providing the word problem being solved.  Yes it does show the correct answer but if a student only copies down the answer without being shown how the problem was solved, they may never gain the knowledge they need to independently solve such problems.

Otherwise I do love the fact that students can enter the information needed to solve the problem and the app animates it so students have a visual for solving but without the explanation, it is harder to learn.