# The New ST Math Features Teachers Need to Know About

If your students are using the new ST Math, I want to make sure you know about some of the new features that will make playing ST Math more productive, rewarding, and engaging than ever before—whether distance learning, in the classroom, or at home.

Our team of user experience and design experts have spent the last three years talking with teachers, students, and administrators from across the country to find out what they love about ST Math and what they think should be improved. I’m excited to share with you some of the key features we think you’ll love.

## Animation Controls

ST Math engages students by solving problems visually and giving them immediate informative feedback for why their solution worked or did not work. Making sense of problems and helping JiJi overcome obstacles is intrinsically motivating for students.

While most students persevere through challenging puzzles and levels by incorporating the feedback in their next attempt, there are times when they get stuck on a particular level. Students may not be looking at key elements of the visual feedback or the feedback may be too fast for them to make sense of it. The new ST Math has a tool for this: animation controls!

An example of the animation controls in the new ST Math.

These controls allow students to pause, rewind, and study the visual feedback on their own or with facilitation by their teacher. Students gain a new level of agency by being able to decide when and how to control the visual feedback and then use it to make sense of the problem and overcome hurdles. Teachers can also use this tool during whole-class Puzzle Talks to analyze and explain the visual proofs as they deepen their conceptual understanding.

## Annotation Tool

The annotation tool, next to the animation controls, now allows for students and teachers to write and sketch their work in the context of solving puzzles! While some teachers may still want to provide students with paper and pencil, the annotation tool gives students a way to work through their thinking and make explicit connections between the visual models in a game and symbolic notation.

Teachers can now ask a student or the whole class, “What equation can we use to represent this puzzle?” This tool and strategy provides students with explicit connections between what they see in the games and what they experience in the classroom.

An example of the annotation tool in the new ST Math.

## Student Metrics

Several efficacy studies show how time on task is a key factor correlating ST Math use with increased state test scores. The new ST Math has added features that motivate students and give teachers feedback on student usage and productivity based on puzzles completed and time on task.

Students now collect puzzles for each level they complete. At the end of each session, students will see how many puzzles they’ve collected. This feature increases intrinsic motivation by having students set goals and work towards achieving them.

Teachers can also use these metrics to help students and the class as a whole set goals and monitor progress. By comparing the puzzles collected to the minutes spent, teachers can quickly see which students are working productively, which might need support staying on task, and which might be falling off or exceeding their average paceindicating they may have either reached a more challenging or easier Objective.

We’ve created this resource to help set goals and benchmarks for different grade levels.

## Just-in-Time Support

The educator experience now includes a wealth of resources for getting the most out of ST Math. Whether you are new to ST Math or a seasoned veteran, we’ve created detailed descriptions to help all educators see how the Objectives and games connect to grade level topics.

Succinct descriptions on the Curriculum page will provide insight on how to connect games students play to topics being covered in the classroom.

We’ve also created ST Math Academy and ST Math Help to gives teachers more in-depth support for maximizing ST Math. Links for Professional Learning and ST Math Help are under Support in the top right corner of your sign-in page. There is a seemingly endless range of content for you to become an expert on ST Math.

A visit to the new ST Math Academy and ST Math Help will certainly be worth your time!

## Differentiation

Teachers now have access to all ST Math content! That means you can assign content from an earlier or later grade level to students. Students who do not have the requisite skills for a given Objective may be assigned the previous year’s Objective. This opportunity to scaffold the learning can be made at an individual, group, or class level. Students still play their grade level content, but teachers will have the ability to assign Objectives for another grade level when appropriate. This works for enrichment as well as for intervention.

Thank you for taking the time to read about this small sample of features that I think make the new ST Math something to brag about. There are certainly many other new things worthy of mention in a longer blog post, but I leave it to you and your students to discover them for yourselves. Enjoy the voyage!

Erich Zeller is the Instructional Designer for the Product Team at MIND Research Institute. Follow him on Twitter @ErichZeller1.

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