Using Pan Balance to Motivate and Remediate
Francisco Santiago works as a youth counselor for York County in Pennsylvania. Committed to helping residents prepare for successful futures, he came to Illuminations seeking out resources for motivation and remediation of mathematics. Francisco is neither a math teacher nor does he consider himself strong in mathematics. However, he explained that increasing his impact with the youth goes hand-in-hand with improving himself, "In order to be able to better help with their homework questions, I knew I had to help myself first. I wasn't confident I could make sense of the math in a meaningful way myself, but figured that whatever could help me better learn math could also help me better teach it." He chuckled, "I'm more the math student as the teacher."
Francisco favors the Pan Balance - Shapes applet over the Pan Balance - Expressions applet, even with the older residents. He commented that the Expressions app is good for "checking your work" - verifying that you graphed the equations and solved them correctly - much like a calculator. The Shapes applet, on the other hand, is more like a puzzle to him. As he described that there are many different ways to uncover the value of each shape, he summarized, "I like it because this one motivates me to think."