Using the SmartBoard to Teach Algebra

Kevin Sonico~ Grade 9 Math and Science

Some have referred to them as glorified whiteboards.  SmartBoards have had the unfortunate reputation of digitizing technology that was already in its own way a useful tool.  Some teachers may have even requested for the removal of SmartBoards for the use of that valuable real estate behind it. The challenge is the to rethink of how we can use them differently in our classrooms. So instead of thinking of them as expensive blackboards or overhead screens where we only project content, let us make them more dynamic and interactive.  Perhaps we can start to think of them more as oversized tablets.  

One of the most useful functions of the SmartBoard is the infinite cloner.  I was originally introduced to the idea of using the infinite cloner in modelling integers.  Because this was such an effective way to visualize why we “invert and multiply” in subtracting integers, for example,  I thought it would be great to demonstrate polynomial functions. Using individual manipulatives such as Algebra Tiles have been very helpful in visualizing such an abstract concept.  To use the SmartBoard much in the same way like an iPad:

  1. 1. Open a Notebook file and start drawing shapes, e.g. green squares to represent x2.

    2. Right-click on a shape and select “Infinite Cloner”

    3. Click, drag, and model.

    The use of Algebra Tiles is a great way for students to individually model polynomials. With the SmartBoard, it is a great means to discuss and display modelling as a collective. If you have other ways of utilizing the SmartBoard in math, I would love to hear back from you.


One thought on “Using the SmartBoard to Teach Algebra

  1. Kevin, I appreciate the challenge you have presented to all teachers with a SmartBoard in their classroom to rethink how they are currently using it and to explore strategies for making the SmartBoard use more dynamic and interactive. You offer some excellent examples through the video clips, with specific references to teaching mathematics,of how this worthwhile goal can be achieved.


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