Friday, April 8, 2011

Using Popplet in the Math Classroom

Popplet is an interactive bulletin board.  Think bulletin board meets sticky note meets technology. Popplet is a combination between a sticky note, a bulletin board, and a multimedia library.  Whatever you would write on a sticky note or tack on a bulletin board, you can put on a Popplet.  You can even upload images and videos.  

You create Popplets on a Wall.  A Popplet is the ‘sticky note’ that contains the video, image, text, and/or link.  You can have as many Popplets as you’d like on a wall.  You can also collaborate on Popplet Walls.  

Proper and Improper Fractions:  Below a Sample Vocabulary Mind Map Wall that I created in Popplet.  Notice the videos and images (all of the fractions are actually images that were uploaded into Popplet).  

Note:  You can create your own images in Power Point. 
  • just create the text, equation, Word Art, or image you want
  • right click on the text box
  • Save as Picture

Some Ideas for Using Popplet in the Math Classroom:
 Create Sorting Activities

You and your students can create any type of sorting activity in Popplet.   Sometimes it’s nice for the teacher to have ready-made activities, and sometimes it would be better for the students to create their own activities.  Consider what students would learn by creating their own activities.  Is it worth the time it would take?  Sometimes the learning opportunity does outweigh the time it would take students to create their own activities.   

Here are some ideas for sorting activities:

  • Create a wall with different multiplication or division of fractions problems and have students sort them by their answers.  (ex.  less than one, between 1 and 3, greater than 3 Or quotient is less than dividend, quotient is greater than dividend)
  •  Have students sort images by the types of angles they represent
  • Have students sort shapes or angles and then determine criteria for their sort.  They can complete the sort and write their criteria on the wall.  Then they can view and comment on other student’s sorts.  (You may have to have an image bank and allow students to make their own walls so everyone can work at the same time without interference.)
 Create Matching Activities

Popplet is a great tool for creating interactive matching activities.  Just like sorting activities, matching activities can be created by teachers or students.  When deciding, use the same criteria as above.  Is the learning opportunity for students worth the time they’d spend creating the activity?  If you think it is but don’t feel you have the class time to devote to it, consider making it an optional out of class assignment.  You might be surprised at who may take you up on the offer.  If some students do make activities, you could use them as a review activity later.   

Here are some ideas for matching activities:
  •  Make vocabulary walls and have students match images, words, and definition.
  •  Make walls that contain problems and steps that students have to match.  For example, put steps to equations or order of operations in order.
  • Make walls where students put together equivalent ratios
  • Make a wall with multiple representations of problems and have students match them up.
Mind Maps

Since Popplet allows you to connect Popplets, you can create mind maps.  The Popplet above would be an example of a mind map created with Popplet.

Word Walls

Make word walls of new vocabulary as you go through a unit.  The nice thing about making word walls in an application like this is that they can be ever growing and everlasting.  They can continually be used as a review and study tool for students.


Popplet can be used for brainstorming.  Since it allows for real time collaboration, you can have students brainstorm during or after class.  

Reflect on Learning

Popplet is an idea format for having students reflect on their learning.  The fact that students can collaborate makes it even better!
  •  You can create walls with questions about the day’s lesson. 
  • You can have students create walls each week where they list what they learned during the week
  • Create a wall where students can leave you questions about the lesson.
If you haven't already tried Popplet, I hope you'll give it a try.  It's very easy to use and the possibilities are endless!

Please leave a comment and tell us how you'd use Popplet with your students.

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