Students Enjoy a Helping of Tangy Math

With markers and white boards at the ready, first-grade students in Jennifer Coughlin and Mary Eileen Oakes’ fully remote class were buzzing with excitement for math lesson to begin. For this lesson they are among hundreds of classrooms across the nation participating in a virtual live stream with Greg Tang, a respected speaker, educator and online game developer who provides free virtual math materials and lessons.

Coughlin's Class during Tang lesson

Many Carmel Central School District teachers districtwide in grades K-6 have utilized materials from Greg Tang, including interactive tools and math games, in the classroom for many years. Tang’s free virtual lessons that began last year provided another great opportunity for our teachers to infuse a new perspective into their lesson plans.

Through the virtual platform, Coughlin’s students interacted with Greg as he moved colored cubes around the screen to show groupings of numbers. This lesson focused on comparing numbers by identifying the larger amount, the difference between amounts, and how to easily make groups of 10.

As the students called out answers and scribbled responses on their whiteboards, Coughlin provided reassuring praise, calling out each student as they answered correctly.

Stephanie Moran and Catherine DeToma’s fully remote third-grade class attended a few Tang classes on multiplication and division to augment their classroom lessons because the timing of the subject matched up perfectly.

“We try to make virtual lessons as fun as possible, but it is nice to have another teacher join our lessons, especially Greg Tang, so that the students have an opportunity to experience a different teaching style,” said Moran. “Greg Tang’s lessons are like a field trip for the students, which is an awesome opportunity in this virtual world!”

“Learning is supposed to be fun. The students love these lessons because Greg Tang keeps the students engaged in the lesson and always dancing!"

“He is fun to do math with. He makes math fun and he’s a kind person. He helps kids learn how to get better at math!” said third-grade student Benjamin Morello.

Outside of his virtual lessons with the students, Tang’s website provides an array of apps and games for students to access anytime, anywhere. Moran’s class spends time with those resources during their Centers time and while completing assignments.

Moran's Class during Greg Tang lesson

“You can also play with the apps for fun if you want, and if you like doing math!” third-grade student Giovanni Ward chimed in.

For Coughlin, Moran and their fellow teachers, the goal is to make the lessons as normal as possible even though they are virtual. They see the hard work the students are putting in and the positive results despite the distance.

“I just love to see the children take what they learn from Greg Tang and transfer it into their everyday math lessons with so much enthusiasm and excitement,” said Oakes.

“You can see that the students are using the strategies from Tang’s lessons,” said Moran. “After we attend the Tang classes, we come back together as a group and review, and you can see the students using those strategies in our lessons.”

“The students are doing awesome with their lessons. They are growing and they are doing the best work that they can. The growth that we are still seeing even though they are remote is amazing.”